Leading national and California immigrant rights organizations joined with Covered California to announce a partnership to spread the word to all communities that immigration status should not deter anyone who can benefit from obtaining coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The federal government’s leading official overseeing health insurance marketplaces across the nation joined the effort Tuesday Dec. 9, to reinforce the fact that information shared in health coverage applications will be kept secure and confidential.
Any U.S. citizen or person who is lawfully present in California is eligible for health insurance through Covered California even if they have family members in their household who are undocumented.
With the president’s recent executive order, there is renewed attention on undocumented residents, and they need to feel confident that they can apply for coverage for legal family members without any consequences.
“We want everyone to know that when you apply for health insurance through a health insurance marketplace like Covered California, all of your information is kept private and secure,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee.
“It will not be shared with or used by any immigration agency to enforce immigration laws. All information you submit is used strictly to determine your eligibility for health insurance programs available under the Affordable Care Act.”
The partnership involves MALDEF (the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), the National Immigration Law Center, Asian Americans Advancing Justice — Los Angeles, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles and the California Immigrant Policy Center.
“Families need adequate health coverage, so no family should have to avoid seeking coverage because of understandable concerns about a political atmosphere that continues to demonize certain immigrants,” said Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel. “We are thankful that Covered California and the Department of Homeland Security have made it crystal clear that immigration enforcement and health coverage should not and will not mix.”
“We are very excited about our partnership with Covered California informing our communities that they do not need to fear sharing their immigration status,” said Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice — Los Angeles. “There are an estimated 1.3 million undocumented Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in the nation, and we hope that this guidance encourages members of our community to seek coverage without fear of getting a family member deported.”
“With the highest rates of being uninsured, Latino immigrants who are eligible must take advantage of the opportunity to pursue health insurance coverage for themselves and their families,” said Arturo Vargas, NALEO Educational Fund executive director. “The health of Latinos will determine the future health of the state. Given the high stakes, we will continue to work to ensure that the Latino community is aware that any information given to Covered California or HealthCare.gov being used for purposes of health coverage eligibility determinations is strictly confidential and will not be shared with any other government agency, state or federal.”
In October 2013, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, issued a letter assuring consumers that information provided by individuals for coverage at Covered California — and other health care exchanges — would not be used for any other purpose than to ensure the efficient operation of the exchange (the full letter can be found at www.ice.gov/doclib/ero-outreach/pdf/ice-aca-memo.pdf).
The partners in this effort want all consumers to know that noncitizens or undocumented family members on an application for insurance for other legal resident members of the household are not at risk. If a household includes both legal residents and non-legal residents, the legal residents can apply for coverage without fear. Their information will remain safe, secure and confidential and will not be used for immigration enforcement purposes. In addition, applying for insurance through Covered California does not affect an individual’s immigration status, nor will it affect the immigration status of any family member on the application or their ability to become U.S. citizens or permanent residents in the future.
As part of this effort, the partners have developed and will distribute a fact sheet for California in English and Spanish, as well as a fact sheet for other states. Plans are in the works to produce fact sheets in other languages, including Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. The available fact sheets are online at the following links:
California fact sheets:
Fact sheet for other states: www.CoveredCA.com/news/PDFs/immigration-fact-sheet-us.pdf.
Finally, while noncitizens or undocumented residents will not be eligible for Covered California health insurance plans, they may be eligible for specific, limited Medi-Cal programs. Individual consumers and their families are encouraged to research their options through Covered California to see what health coverage options are available to them. Help is available in local communities by visiting www.CoveredCA.com and clicking “Find Local Help.” On that page, families can find a Certified Enrollment Counselor or a Certified Insurance Agent near them who can answer any question or concern and can help consumers enroll in an affordable, quality health plan.
About Covered California
Covered California is the state’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Covered California, in partnership with the California Department of Health Care Services, was charged with creating a new health insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to affordable health insurance plans.
Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the new market work for California’s consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the governor and the Legislature. For more information about Covered California, please visit www.CoveredCA.com.
SOURCE Covered California