An undocumented resident is a person who does not have legal immigration status in the United States. Many undocumented residents, for a variety of reasons, are not able to secure health insurance and stand to be at great risk without coverage. That’s why the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation collaborated with the Partnership for Harvard Health, Prevention Research Center’s TransForm and the White House Rural Council to create a rural exemption that covers uninsured individuals regardless of how they entered the United States. This article explores that story and also looks at how it relates to health insurance on a wider scale, as well as what would be involved with such an exemption from federal law.
Undocumented residents in the United States face a number of unique challenges when it comes to accessing health care. Not only do they lack identification, which can make obtaining health insurance difficult, but they also may not have easy access to reliable transportation or English-speaking doctors.
As a result, undocumented residents are often forced to rely on less-developed and expensive healthcare systems. This can lead to high rates of serious illness and even premature death. In 2012, an estimated 7 million people – roughly one in five – were uninsured residents of the US, many of whom were undocumented immigrants.
To address this problem, the Obama administration has been working to develop a series of policies designed to help undocumented residents gain access to healthcare. One important initiative is known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was passed in February 2010 and provides qualifying individuals with access to affordable healthcare insurance coverage through state or national exchanges.
Under ACA, undocumented residents are eligible for coverage if they are citizens or lawful permanent residents of the US, have been residing in the country for at least six months, and are not currently members of another healthcare plan. Individuals who are covered under ACA may be required to pay some monthly premiums but will generally be able to receive comprehensive benefits coverage through their insurance provider.
Despite these efforts, there is still much that needs to be done when it comes to ensuring that all Americans have access to quality healthcare. Undocumented residents represent just one segment of society that faces significant
Why undocumented residents need health insurance
Undocumented residents in the United States need health insurance just like everyone else, and there are several reasons for this. First of all, without health insurance, undocumented residents can easily end up spending a lot of money on hospital bills and doctor visits that they could never afford if they were financially able to pay. In addition, uninsured undocumented residents are at a higher risk for getting sick or getting injured and may not be able to get treatment if they do get sick. Finally, undocumented residents often face discrimination when it comes to accessing health care, which can make it difficult or impossible for them to find a doctor who will treat them without proper identification.
Fortunately, there are many different types of health insurance available to undocumented residents that can help cover some of the costs associated with getting sick or injured. Some of the most common types of health insurance include individual medical plans, group medical plans, and 457 plans (known as “parallel arrangement” plans in the United Kingdom). Each type of plan has its own set of benefits and exclusions, but all three usually offer comprehensive coverage for emergency room visits, hospital stays, doctor appointments, etc. In addition to providing financial protection from unexpected medical expenses, obtaining health insurance can also let undocumented residents feel more comfortable discussing their medical concerns with doctors and ensuring that they receive the best possible care.
GetUCIAID – the first affordable, nationwide patient ID system for healthcare
UCIAID is the first nationwide patient ID system designed for healthcare providers and uninsured individuals who are not citizens or legal residents of the United States. The Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to have health insurance by 2014, and UCIAID is one way to make sure that undocumented residents have access to quality healthcare.
UCIAID works by linking the healthcare records of eligible patients with their insurance companies. If a patient has coverage through an employer or government program, their record will already be in UCIAID. If a patient does not have any coverage, their record will be added to UCIAID after they are approved for coverage through a government or private programsuch as Medicare or Medicaid.
In order for UCIAID to work effectively, all patients and providers need to be registered with the system. This can be done easily online at uciaid.org/getregistered or by calling 1-855-UCIAID-2424. Once registered, providers can begin adding patients to their records and insurers can start enrolling patients in coverage.
Patients who enroll in UCIAID will have access to many important benefits, including:
- No more worry about forgetting your insurance card or identification numbers! With UCIAID, all you need is your identification number and Identification Number Verification (INV) code which is sent to your email address when you register with the system.
- Never miss a doctor appointment or medication again! With UCIA
Affordable care option away from home; improved health outcomes; lower cost
Undocumented residents in the United States need access to affordable health care, just like everyone else. This can be difficult to do, as many undocumented residents live outside of traditional healthcare settings and do not have any insurance. In fact, undocumented immigrants are more likely than other Americans to lack employer-provided coverage.
A study by the National Immigration Law Center found that without insurance, undocumented immigrants often forego needed medical procedures and treatments because they cannot afford them. Undocumented immigrants also face higher rates of preventable diseases and conditions, such as obesity and heart disease. In addition, untreated illness can lead to serious health problems, including death.
Fortunately there is an alternative to expensive hospital stays or skipping necessary doctor visits – comprehensive community health centers (CHCs). CHCs are non-profit agencies that provide primary care, dental care, mental health services, and much more for low-income residents free or at a nominal fee. CHCs report that providing quality medical care to undocumented residents improves their overall health outcomes and lowers their costs compared to accessing care through the government or private sector providers .
In light of these findings, policy makers should explore ways to make it easier for uninsured undocumented immigrants to find quality healthcare at CHCs. This could include expanding eligibility for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), creating a medicaid waiver program specifically tailored for undocumented immigrants, developing a defined contribution plan.
Partnership to increase access to coverage
Undocumented residents in the United States need health care too! As of January 1st, 2014, all undocumented people residing in the U.S. are required to have health insurance or face fines. This means that regardless of how long they’ve been living in the U.S., all undocumented people are now required to have coverage or pay a penalty.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) sought to make it easier for Americans without health insurance by providing subsidies for those who applied for Medicaid or purchased private health insurance through an Exchange created by the ACA. However, many undocumented residents do not qualify for these government assistance programs. For example, most lower-income undocumented adults do not meet eligibility requirements for Medicaid because their income is below 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL). Undocumented immigrants also tend to lack documentation such as driver’s licenses or passports and often have limited access to transportation, which can make it difficult for them to get necessary screenings and checkups.
Fortunately, there are other ways to get quality healthcare coverage without having to worry about qualifying for government assistance programs or paying high premiums out of pocket. A number of private insurers offer coverage specifically designed for undocumented immigrants and offers discounts on rates compared to regular rates charged to non-immigrant individuals. There are also a number of healthcare providers who cater specifically towards the needs of undocumented residents such as pediatricians and obstetricians/gynecologists who can provide essential reproductive health services like prenatal care and contraception without fear of