Being an immigrant in the United States today can be a difficult and scary experience. Not only are you a foreigner in a strange new place and most likely will have to deal with unfortunate discrimination, but you also have healthcare needs that you’ll want to have addressed.
Studies have shown that the United States had around 44 million documented immigrants living in households in 2019. And this number has risen to around 48 million as of 2021.
But immigrants are often treated unfairly in the United States due to a range of policy issues, prejudices, restrictions, and language barriers that make it difficult to live and work in America. Fortunately, there are alternatives for acquiring the basic necessities that you’ll need as an immigrant, and this includes access to health care.
If you’re a new immigrant and you need to find healthcare services, the following will provide you with helpful information.
Believe it or not, due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise referred to as “Obamacare,” as an immigrant you can apply for health coverage during an open enrollment period just like any other United States resident.
This means that lawful immigrants and those in the country on student or work visas are also eligible for premium subsidies just like any resident. However, there is also a special enrollment period for new immigrants and citizens.
Additionally, there are also several healthcare facilities across the country which are known to cater to immigrants of all nations. And this can be extremely helpful especially when emergency room visits are so costly.
For example, Hillcroft Physicians in Houston, Texas offers services specific to the needs of immigrants. And these healthcare professionals also have staffed their facility with a variety of native healthcare professionals from many immigrant countries in order to assist those who have poor English speaking skills.
Unfortunately, there are also many limitations when it comes to accessing healthcare in the United States as an immigrant. But as long as you’re a lawfully admitted immigrant, you should have a relatively little issue.
One of the biggest limitations for immigrants is an illegal status. Those who have come to the country illegally will find the most limitations, as will those who have been incarcerated for any felony or misdemeanor crimes.
Other limitations include cultural restrictions that may affect your decision on specific treatments that may be made available to you, and these can vary widely. And in addition to cultural restrictions, language limitations may also affect your ability to access healthcare or your understanding of healthcare procedures.
Medicaid is one of the many benefits for those who live at the poverty level. However, Medicaid has been expanded in recent years to offer healthcare coverage to those up to 130 percent of the poverty level.
The only problem with Medicaid is that if you get sick or injured as an immigrant, many states require that you’ve lived in the United States for a minimum of five years in order to use Medicaid benefits.
However, the United States Congress added stipulations into the ACA which allow a new immigrant to receive subsidies regardless of low-income levels. This basically means that if you’ve recently come to the United States, you can receive benefits during the first five years that Medicaid is unavailable to you, depending on what state you’re residing in of course.
The latter is largely in place due to the American Rescue Plan, which is set to continue to be active through the end of 2022 unless Congress decides to extend the plan thereafter.
Being an immigrant is not easy. But the United States is a country of immigrants from many nations. As such, here in the U.S., we have many policies enacted over the years which offer assistance to immigrants of all nations. Though the details can be complex, getting the healthcare that you need offers little restriction as long as you’re a lawfully admitted immigrant.