How immigrants are being affected by the health care industry

Healthcare for immigrants

Health care for immigrants continues to be a unique challenge as we work to bring comprehensive health care options to immigrants throughout the country. 

Getting comprehensive health care options to immigrants throughout the country is a topic that is currently being addressed. Here are two key points regarding immigrant healthcare that we’ll be addressing in this article:

  • The impacts of Covid on the health care industry for immigrants

  • What the agenda is for immigration health care

According to the United Nations, in 2019, the United States had the largest number of immigrants of any country alongside Germany and Saudi Arabia.

One article addressed the issues of giving more health care options to immigrants in Connecticut. Undocumented immigrants don’t have access to state insurance. For one worker, not having proper health care means that he could potentially become sicker by having to wait in order to receive the treatment he needs (emergency dialysis).

Source: Connecticut immigrants deserve health insurance

The impacts of Covid on the health care industry for immigrants

 

Access to healthcare is especially vital now, as undocumented immigrants have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Approximately 75 percent of U.S. undocumented immigrants are Latino, a group which dies or falls ill from COVID-19 at much higher rates than the general population. This is due to medical barriers, such as shortages of testing in communities of color, as well as increased exposure to COVID-19 at work.

Regarding the immigrant communities in California, a study was released by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. The study, based on data from the center’s 2019 California Health Interview Survey, shows that 1 in 4 low-income immigrant adults in the state have avoided accessing public assistance like health, food or housing programs at some point for fear of jeopardizing their own or a family member’s immigration status.

More than half of the individuals who participated in the study indicated they had shunned these programs in the time between the the proposed rule changes in 2018 and their implementation in 2020.

Immigrants’ avoidance of these public programs was linked to worse access to health care and higher food insecurity, the researchers say.

The researchers found that among California immigrants who had reported avoiding programs over the past year, 37 percent were uninsured and 54 percent were food insecure, compared with 16 percent and 36 percent of immigrants who didn’t avoid the programs.

The study data adds to the evidence of how the public charge rule, in particular, had a negative impact on immigrant communities and forced individuals to make tough choices about their health and well-being — choices made even more difficult by widespread uncertainty about which public assistance programs were included, who the rule applied to and how it might affect citizenship applications.

Read more about how immigration policies can harm health here.

The 2021 plan to address immigration health care

 

 Some states wisely chose to protect the immigrant community by using Emergency Medicaid funds to cover expenses associated with COVID-19 testing and treatment for residents who were excluded from Medicaid based on their immigration status. But more needs to be done.

Here are some other bills that are being passed throughout the country that will support better health care for immigrants:

  • IL: Immigrants over 65 can now receive health care benefits regardless of their immigration status. (Source)

  • MA: Immigrants who can’t show proof of lawful presence in the U.S. could apply for a license under the law to get to their workplaces and access businesses. (Source)

  • OR: Oregon lawmakers are pursuing legislation that would help legal immigrants get health care without worrying about feeling discouraged from going to hospitals or clinics. (Source)

On another note, immigrant families that were previously separated will soon be reuniting inside the U.S. This means that parents who were deported without their children will be given the option to reenter the U.S. and be reunified with their families. This also applies to families who want to be reunified in their countries of origin.

Read more about how migrant families will soon reunite inside U.S. here.

Unemployed?

health insurance

Unemployed?

Losing a job is never easy. It can come for a variety of reasons, but the news that you are no longer employed is always a tough pill to swallow. And while your health insurance may not be your very first concern, for many it does rank up pretty high worries after that initial shock.

If your job provided health insurance for you, there are some steps you can take to ensure that you have continued coverage. First, you will want to look into COBRA. If your employer paid for part of your health insurance, COBRA allows you after your termination to continue with the same care that you had previously, though you will be paying the entirety of the premiums. This is something to seriously consider if you are currently receiving care that cannot be disrupted or you are receiving care from a doctor that you may not be able to see if you were to switch providers. However, when faced with paying for their health insurance many people opt to look at other options.

You can also look at Covered California. Because you just had a change in jobs, you would most likely qualify for special enrollment through Covered California because of this life event. However, timing is essential here. If you miss applying for coverage during this window, you will have to wait until open enrollment.

You may also want to look into MediCal. MediCal provides coverage to a countless number of California residents with limited incomes or disabilities. To qualify you will need to report your income to see if you are eligible. You will need to take into consideration the income of your entire household, not just yourself. You will also need to report on any other revenue that you may be receiving.

If you have questions and just feel overwhelmed by the whole process, please feel free to call us. At Bernardini & Donovan, we want to ensure that you receive the best health insurance possible and would love to answer any of your questions. Please call us today.