Confused? Many people are confused about the laws. What are the laws about health insurance? What are the laws about health care?
Keeping your family safe Is anyone in your family undocumented? You may have questions about how you can stay safe when you apply for health insurance and when you look for health care.
Scroll down! Here you will find information about health insurance. You will also find information about receiving health care, even if you or a family member is undocumented.
Know your rights! You will learn what your rights are. This will help you stay safe.
Your health insurance Apply for health insurance if you think you are eligible. Some of your options are Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplaces, Medi-Cal, and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program).
The Affordable Care Act The Affordable Care Act is still the law. You will be able to keep your coverage through 2017 and maybe longer. Many people who are eligible to buy health coverage through the ACA Marketplaces are also eligible for federal subsidies to help pay for it. You may be able to find good coverage for less than $75 per month.
Is your family an immigrant family? You may apply for health insurance or renew your coverage for family members who are eligible.
Important privacy rules There are strong privacy rules. These rules protect families who apply for health insurance, including families in which some or all are undocumented.
Information you give Any information you give when you apply for Medi-Cal, CHIP, or an ACA Marketplace plan can be used only for one thing: deciding whether people in your family are eligible. Your information can not be used to deport anyone. Government workers, application assisters, and people who help with the insurance applications must keep information private and secure. This is the law!
Are you undocumented? Are you applying only for someone else? Do not provide your own immigration status.
Instead you can say, “I am not applying for health insurance for myself.”
People who are applying for insurance coverage only for themselves People who are applying for insurance coverage for themselves need to write their citizenship or immigration status information on the application form. This is true for Medi-Cal, CHIP, and the ACA Marketplace.
Other family members The applications may not ask for citizenship or immigration status information about other people in the family. If you are applying for someone else, and you are undocumented, do not provide any information about your immigration status.
The applications may not ask for this information about people who are applying for eligible family members but not for themselves. This is the law!
No Social Security number? If you don’t have a Social Security number (SSN), you don’t have to provide one. If you do have a Social Security number, you do have to show it.
If you do not have a Social Security number, your health insurance application will not be slowed down or denied. This is the law!
Do you need an interpreter? You have the right to an interpreter when you apply for health insurance through Medi-Cal, CHIP, or an ACA Marketplace insurance plan. This is true whether you are documented or undocumented. This service is free.
If you go to a hospital or community health center, you have the right to an interpreter. This is true whether you are documented or undocumented. This service is free.
Don’t ask your child to interpret! Health information can be complicated and important. Don’t ask your children to translate for you or anyone else. Hospitals and community health centers may use bilingual staff, telephone interpretation services, or other qualified interpreters to provide language assistance for patients.
If you are uninsured and undocumented If you are uninsured and undocumented, you have some health care options.
Health care options These health care programs and services are available for undocumented immigrants, people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and other uninsured people in California and other states:
• emergency-room care
• public and safety-net hospitals
• public health services (immunizations, mental health, screening and treatment for communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV, sexually transmitted infections)
• programs providing health services necessary to protect life or safety: emergency medical, food or shelter, mental health crisis, domestic violence, crime victim assistance, disaster relief
• treatment for an emergency medical condition under “emergency Medicaid,” including labor and delivery for pregnancy
• financial assistance or “charity care” programs at community health centers and most hospitals
In California The State of California pays for Medi-Cal or CHIP coverage for young children and older children, regardless of whether they are documented. California gives pregnancy-related services to pregnant women even if they are undocumented.
Should not ask for information! Health care providers should not ask for immigration status information.
Hospitals with emergency rooms Hospitals with emergency rooms must screen and treat people who need emergency medical services. If they have no insurance, if they have little money, if they are undocumented, if they have no Social Security number—it does not matter. They must be helped! This is the law!
Community health centers This is the same at community health centers. People can receive primary and preventive health care services. If they have no insurance, if they have little money, if they are undocumented, if they have no Social Security number —it does not matter. They must be helped! This is the law!
When doctors, hospitals, health centers ask for information Doctors, hospitals, clinics, health centers, or other medical providers may ask for information to find out if you are eligible for public health insurance. They may need to figure out how you are going to pay for services.
They can’t say no to you! They can’t say no to medical treatment because because you are undocumented. They are not supposed to assume what your immigration status is, because of the language you speak, your accent, what you look like, or whether you have a Social Security number. If they do these things, they may be breaking federal civil rights laws!
Be careful! If you are undocumented, do not give your immigration status information to workers at a hospital, workers at a health center, or workers at a doctor’s office.
Health care workers do not have to report your immigration status to law enforcement or federal immigration officials. But it’s best not to give them this information anyway.
If you don’t have health insurance If you don’t have health insurance you can say, “I am not eligible for health insurance, and I do not want to apply.”
If you don’t have a photo ID or don’t want to show it You should not have to show a photo ID to receive medical treatment.
Hospitals or doctors may ask for photo identification. But they may not use your ID to help officials with enforcing immigration law.
They may need to see your photo ID to show that the person getting care is the person whose name is on the medical record or on the prescription.
No one should be refused treatment because he or she does not have a photo ID.
Immigration officials Immigration officials are supposed to stay away from hospitals and medical facilities.
ICE and CBP U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are supposed to stay away from hospitals, doctors’ offices, accredited health clinics, and emergent or urgent care facilities.
Policy, not law This is a policy. Immigration officials have been acting according to this policy for a long time.
It’s important to know! Keep in mind that these policies and laws can change. Learn more about any changes from the National Immigration Law Center: https://www.nilc.org
More information here!
• Know your rights: Everyone Has Certain Basic Rights, No Matter Who Is President https://www.nilc.org/everyone-has-certain-basic-rights/
• If you have DACA: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and know-your-rights resources https://www.nilc.org/daca/