Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How the ACA may Help Nonprofits Serve Undocumented Immigrants

Florida’s Sun Sentinel reports that the affordable Care Act (ACA)  is expected to enable Florida nonprofits to better meet the needs of undocumented immigrants, albeit indirectly.   US citizens among the working poor will now have expanded medical coverage, thereby freeing up nonprofits’ resources to improve service to the uninsured.  What immigrants are, and are not, covered by the ACA directly?  The article explains:

Pilloried in the political discourse as "illegals," undocumented immigrants were left off the table when the Affordable Care Act was drafted. Those with "eligible immigration status" and covered under the act, according to the Obamacare application, include visitors holding a student or work visa; immigrants afforded "temporary protection status;" members of a federally recognized Indian tribe born in Canada; and those applying for asylum.


But immigrants with "deferred action status" — those who came to the United States illegally as children but afforded prosecutorial discretion for deportation — are not covered. Neither are the millions of adults who also crossed the border illegally.

Although undocumented immigrants now receive, and will continue to receive, treatment in hospital emergency rooms, such services are costly.  The enhanced ability of nonprofit healthcare clinics to offer preventive care should better serve patients and help reduce the strain on emergency room operations.



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