An update to the application on Healthcare.gov means that recent, lawfully present immigrants are now able to buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace. They are also eligible to receive financial assistance to pay for that coverage. Until the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) fixed the application in early June, recent, lawful immigrants who sought health coverage during the open enrollment period were turned away. Now, the task remains to find those who were denied coverage and offer them another chance to enroll.
The success of the Affordable Care Act’s first enrollment period is clear: More than 8 million people have signed up for health insurance coverage through the health insurance marketplaces since last October. Among different racial and ethnic groups, however, increases in health insurance coverage varied widely. African and Asian Americans enrolled at relatively high rates, while Hispanic enrollment was lower. The results from the first enrollment period tell us that minority enrollment is on the upswing, but there is more work to do.
Federal Laws Prohibit Government from Using Health Insurance Application Information for Deportation
As the March 31 deadline approaches for enrolling in health insurance in the marketplace, we would like to address one concern that could be unnecessarily holding back hundreds of thousands of families: fear of deportation.
Many families are concerned that in an effort to do the right and responsible thing—enrolling their (eligible) family members in health coverage—they will inadvertently cause someone else in the family to get deported. These families are known as “mixed status” families because they include people with different immigration statuses.
According to new data released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Latinos—the racial and ethnic group with the highest uninsured rate in the nation—have much to gain from the Affordable Care Act. And yet, anecdotal evidence suggests that this population is not enrolling for health coverage at the level that one would expect for a group with such high numbers of uninsured.
Families USA and the National Health Law Program worked together to develop a checklist to help advocates ensure that their states implement health insurance exchanges that meet the needs of people with limited proficiency in English.