The current presidential administration has made strides in immigration reform, but a potential downside to the current proposed reform bars immigrants from receiving healthcare benefits under the new Affordable Care Act. While there are positive aspects to the immigration plan, California immigrants currently moving family members to the U.S. may have to come up with another way to obtain health insurance. The new plan would offer several million undocumented immigrants the opportunity to receive probationary legal status in this country, allowing them to stay here legally and offer them the possibility of earning eventual citizenship. Unfortunately those immigrants would be barred from receiving medical benefits under the Act, but they would also be exempt from the requirement to carry insurance, at least while they are seeking citizenship.
The healthcare act currently allows non-citizens the right to receive the benefits if they are in the country legally. This language means anyone in this country as a legal permanent resident, temporary worker, asylum recipient – and some others – would be entitled to receive medical benefits. However, those who are undocumented may not receive any government funds to help with the purchase of insurance.
They would still be covered under the provision that prevents insurers from denying medical coverage to anyone who may have a pre-existing condition. For many immigrants moving family members to the U.S., this could result in expensive out-of-pocket health care costs in the event of an illness or injury. Immigrants are continuing to seek reform, and while there are definite benefits from the recent administration plan, not receiving healthcare insurance could certainly be a setback.
It is estimated millions of undocumented immigrants could remain uninsured once the Act is fully implemented. For those moving family members to the U.S., it could be time to begin thinking of a back-up plan or to start saving money in the event of a medical emergency. However, for those who seek hospital care and don’t receive it due to an undocumented status, the need for outside assistance may present itself. Immigrants in California and around the country have certain rights, and although they will not be allowed to receive health care benefits with the new Act, they are still entitled to receive medical care regardless of their status.
Source: California Healthline, “Obama’s Plan Would Bar ‘Provisional’ Immigrants From ACA Benefits,” Jan. 30, 2013