Five Things Immigrant and Mixed-Status Families Should Know about Enrolling in the ACA

As open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) gets underway, we know there are people eligible for coverage who remain uninsured and are looking for information and resources to understand their options and get covered.

Immigrants and those living in mixed-status families face unique circumstances and may need additional guidance on how to get coverage for themselves and their loved ones. The good news is that there are resources available to help, and if you or someone you know faced challenges when trying to enroll, we encourage you to return as improvements have been made to the process. Enrollment is now open at healthcare.gov and cuidadodesalud.gov through January 31, 2016.

Here are five things immigrant and mixed-status families -- and those assisting them -- should know about enrolling in coverage under the ACA:

  1. Immigration information provided on the health application will be used only to verify eligibility for coverage. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has stated it will not use this information for immigration enforcement purposes.
  2. Signing up for insurance through the ACA, Medicaid, or Children's Health Insurance Program does not make someone a "public charge." The one exception is for people receiving long-term care in an institution at government expense.
  3. While those without an eligible immigration status cannot get coverage through the ACA, they can apply on behalf of their eligible dependents. An undocumented parent, for example, can apply on behalf of an eligible child. Those who are not applying for coverage for themselves will not be asked if they have an eligible immigration status.
  4. A variety of immigration documents can be used to verify immigration status on the health application. Having this information readily available will help the enrollment process.
  5. Free, in-person assistance is available to help those applying. For information on assistance in your area, visit healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.
For coverage that begins on January 1, the deadline to enroll is December 15. The opportunity to get covered, however, continues through January 31, 2016. About four million Latinos have already gained health insurance under the ACA -- we urge everyone who is eligible to apply.

This was first posted to the NCLR Blog.