Friday, November 1, 2013
New Resources on Mixed-Status Families and the ACA
“Fear about deportation should never prevent an immigrant parent from purchasing affordable health care for his or her children.” — Marielena Hincapié, NILC executive director
We’re excited to share three new resources on immigrants and the Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA or “Obamacare”).
FIRST, on October 25, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the immigration enforcement arm of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, issued a memo titled “Clarification of Existing Practices Related to Certain Health Care Information.” It confirms that immigrant parents can enroll their U.S. citizen children and other eligible family members in health insurance programs under the ACA without triggering immigration enforcement activity.
One of the major barriers to enrolling eligible members of mixed-status families into health insurance programs is the fear that applying for coverage will bring undocumented members of those families to ICE’s attention. Due to this fear, eligible family members, including U.S. citizen children, often go without the critical health insurance available to them. The ACA already contains strong protections aimed at allaying such fears, but the new clarification from ICE makes it even more clear and serves as a strong reminder that no one who’s eligible for health insurance coverage should go without it.
SECOND, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) has devoted a webpage on its ACA website, HealthCare.gov, to answering questions about immigrants’ access to the health insurance marketplaces. On that webpage, titled “What do Immigrant Families Need to Know about the Marketplace?,” you’ll find information on these topics: lawfully present immigrants’ eligibility for subsidies, immigrant access to Medicaid and CHIP, whether the ACA raises public charge concerns (it doesn’t), mixed-status families’ options for care and coverage, and the collection and use of Social Security numbers (SSNs) and immigration status information.
THIRD, here at the National Immigration Law Center we’ve just published a set of answers to frequently asked questions about mixed-status families’ access to ACA programs. Our new 7-page FAQ explains, for example, who is eligible for coverage in the health insurance marketplaces created by the ACA, and who in a mixed-status family is an “applicant” and who a “nonapplicant”; and it lists six “Key points to remember about mixed-status families.”
You can find links to many more resources about immigrants’ access to health care on our “ACA: Fact Sheets & Advocacy Materials” webpage—including information on who is “lawfully present” for purposes of the ACA, a table showing which documents are typically used by lawfully present immigrants, and whether using health care raises a concern that the user will be considered a public charge.
We hope these new resources help in your outreach to immigrant families about the ACA. Please help us spread the word!