Immigration and Health

What does immigration have to do with health? What does health have to do with immigration? The more you know about how these two systems relate, the more you realize the answer is everything. Immigration policy IS healthcare policy.

Health insurance, through the marketplace or government benefit programs (e.g. Medicaid and Medicare) is not available to immigrants unless they have specific documentation. If you are a legal permanent resident, you must have your green card for 5 years before you are eligible for marketplace insurance. Are you a DACA recipient? Unfortunately, this status does not give you access to marketplace or government health insurance, either. This means a significant percentage of our population is uninsured, without access to preventative care that could minimize emergency room visits and save healthcare providers millions of dollars.

Today, I received a call from a client who has been a Legal Permanent Resident for 9 years, living in Montrose and working in Telluride. She needed help navigating a payment plan system at Montrose Memorial Hospital because she has outstanding bills and does not have insurance. Not only should she be eligible for marketplace insurance, or possibly Medicaid depending on her income level, but also eligible to naturalize. With TCHNetwork’s Department of Justice Recognition & Accreditation status, we will be able to assist this client with her overlapping needs in the worlds of healthcare and immigration. Medicaid enrollment, here we come! Naturalization application, let’s get started!

Marisa Marshalka, Health Equity Coordinator

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