Wilner & O'Reilly, APLC
One Practice. One Focus. One Passion: Immigration Law.

Requirements for immigrants seeking health care

Orange residents may be interested in some of the difficulties that immigrants and others are having with signing up for health care under the new California insurance exchange. Eligibility requires submitting proof of legal residency or citizenship, but there may be issues in delivering this message.

After the passage of the Affordable Care Act, California instituted its implementation of the program, dubbed Covered California. Since this insurance exchange was established, over 1.2 million residents of California have signed up for health care. Generally, the person's citizenship or legal status in the country is checked against a federal database and automatically cleared. When this does not work, they must submit proof of their status in order to be eligible for coverage.

Across the U.S., 300,000 people are required to submit this documentation of citizenship or legal residency. Of these, 100,000 are located in California, which has a high percentage of immigrants. The executive director of Covered California says that these Californians who have signed up may be in danger of losing their coverage if they do not submit this proof soon. Some argue that there may be dangers in unclear language contained in the notifications which Covered California is preparing to send, but the director stresses that they are open to suggestions from advocacy groups. Reports indicate that the manpower needed to process these submissions of proof are affecting other aspects of California's insurance exchange, such as the call center that receives inquiries about health care coverage.

As citizenship or legal status is a requirement for obtaining health insurance under these programs, naturalization may be a top priority for many immigrants to the U.S. Citizenship attorneys may be helpful in navigating the application process, as well as preparing for the naturalization test.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Without proof of citizenship, residency, 100,000 could lose Obamacare", Chad Therune, August 21, 2014

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Without proof of citizenship, residency, 100,000 could lose Obamacare", Chad Therune, August 21, 2014

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