Can undocumented immigrants get health insurance?
Can undocumented immigrants get health insurance in the U.S.? Unfortunately, undocumented immigrants in the United States have few coverage options. They do not qualify to apply for Affordable Care Act Marketplace health coverage, and are also ineligible to apply for Medicaid, Medicare or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In some states, women have the option of getting coverage for prenatal care regardless of immigration status, though.
Some undocumented immigrants may have access to employer-sponsored health insurance, but many do not. Likewise, some may get health coverage through a spouse or a dependent who has an employer-provided health plan and benefits.
Options for insurance
Undocumented immigrants may be able to purchase private insurance on the Marketplace in some places and in some instances. Being unable to access subsidies for this coverage keeps prices high, though. Some student health programs cover undocumented immigrants, and six states and Washington, D.C. use state-only funds to cover income-eligible children regardless of immigration status. In California, starting in January 2020, low-income undocumented young adults can be covered by Medicaid (called Medi-Cal in California) until they turn 26.
Options for affordable health care
The majority of undocumented immigrants have limited options in terms of their health care coverage. Unfortunately, this also means limited health care access. Undocumented immigrants can access basic primary care through community health centers. They can also access family planning and basic reproductive health care through Title X clinics. Planned Parenthood health centers charge patients fees on a sliding-scale depending on income, regardless of immigration status or whether or not they have health insurance. And under federal law, all hospital emergency rooms must screen and stabilize patients and provide basic emergency care. This is true even for those who are uninsured, undocumented, or both.