The government has made available various healthcare programs to residents of the State of GA, some of which are accessible to immigrants depending on their status. These programs can help many individuals afford healthcare for both them and their family they otherwise wouldn’t be able to receive without the government’s assistance. If you’ve relocated to Atlanta from another country and could benefit from some help from the government, below we have taken the time to outline for you which government programs are available to you and what you need to qualify to receive benefits.
Is Medicaid available to immigrants?
Medicaid was first established back in 1965 and is a federal and state-funded insurance program that is offered to low-income individuals [Source: National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)].
Medicaid benefits are generally available to:
- Those who think they are pregnant.
- Children or teenagers who are under the age of 19.
- Those who are legally blind.
- Those who have a disability.
- Those who need nursing home care.
[Source: Georgia Department of Community Health].
Aside from meeting one of the criteria listed above, the agency is going to take into account your income and whether you are a U.S. citizen or a qualified immigrant. If you are considered to be a non-qualified immigrant or an undocumented immigrant, the agency says that you may only be eligible for coverage of emergency medical services. For those who are looking to apply for Medicaid for their entire family, the following shall be used to determine if you qualify for these benefits:
- Applications filed for other benefits.
- Citizenship/Qualified Immigrant status and identity.
- Cooperation with the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS).
- Specified relative relationships/tax filer or non-tax filer status.
- Valid Social Security Number.
- Assignment of medical benefits to the Medical Assistance Plans Division.
Now, if you are living in GA as a permanent resident, meaning you have obtained your green card, you are eligible for Medicaid and CHIP so as long as you have lived in the U.S. for five years on the “same basis as U.S. citizens and meet all other program requirements.” If you are a refugee or veteran, the National Conference of State Legislatures says that these groups of individuals are exempt from the five-year bar.
What is CHIP?
CHIP, which stands for Children’s Health Insurance Program was established in 1997 and “offers low-cost health coverage for children in families whose household income is higher than the standard to qualify for Medicaid. CHIP is available to immigrants who meet similar requirements as those stipulated above for Medicaid. States can also choose to provide coverage to all lawfully present children and women who are pregnant.
As of 2017, Medicaid and CHIP have provided health coverage to approximately 74.5 million Americans and serve as the “largest source of health coverage in the U.S.” Approximately one-half of the individuals who receive benefits from either Medicaid or CHIP are children, one-fourth are adults, and one-fourth are seniors or disabled, says the NCSL.
Unfortunately, there are many immigrants who are currently living in the State of GA who are unaware of the government programs that are available to them. The NCSL highlights that aside from immigrants being extremely limited in what they can receive in terms of government assistance, there are other factors that hinder them from seeking healthcare services including:
- Limited English proficiency
- Familiarity with the U.S. healthcare system
- Cost and concern about immigration enforcement. Although undocumented immigrants are entitled to emergency medical services, there are plenty of individuals who refrain from taking advantage of the care that is available to them as they worry their status is going to result in them being detained by immigration officials and possibly deported.
Because healthcare coverage is essential to have, especially if you have children, the Atlanta, GA immigration attorneys at Kuck | Baxter Immigration Partners LLC want to be sure you are aware of the types of government assistance that are available to you and your loved ones. Our attorneys can provide you with information for each program that is available to immigrants living in Atlanta and even help determine if you meet the eligibility requirements that allow you to apply for the assistance. With all the immigration reform that is happening in the U.S., it is important you have a reliable source you can depend on and trust when you have questions or concerns that need to be addressed.
Kuck | Baxter Immigration Partners LLC can serve as that reliable source for you and your family and assist you with any type of immigration-related matter that might arise. If you have any questions or need assistance with a legal matter, give us a call now at 404-816-8611.
Kuck | Baxter Immigration Partners LLC can be reached at:
365 Northridge Road, Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30350