Health Equity Issues for the Latino Community
Health care is a human right. We envision a world where sexual and reproductive rights are human rights, and where everyone feels safe in accessing health care. That’s why Planned Parenthood health centers’ motto is “Care. No matter what.” Planned Parenthood believes all people should have access to quality, affordable health care — regardless of income, insurance, or immigration status.
Everyone should have control over their own body. That means everyone should be able to choose if or when to parent, and everyone should have the ability to stay in the same home and country as their families if they want to. Planned Parenthood is dedicated to removing barriers to accessing high-quality, affordable health care that can lead to negative health outcomes.
Latino Health Facts
Latinos already have a hard time accessing affordable health care because they have the highest uninsurance rate of any other ethnic group — and, because of systemic barriers, many Latinos do not have a regular health care provider.
Latinas have higher rates of cervical cancer compared to non-Hispanic white women.
The HIV diagnosis rate among Latinas in 2016 was more than three times that of White women.
Latinos have relatively higher rates for STDs compared with non-Latino Whites.
While they are at a historic low, Latino teen pregnancy and birth rates are more than twice as high as the national average.
For Latinxs who are LGBTQ, the added barriers of homophobia and transphobia can result in medical discrimination, financial constraints that bar access to private insurance, trouble finding a culturally competent provider, and harassment or even violence at the hands of medical professionals.
Attacks on immigrants contribute to a culture of fear that keeps too many people from seeking the lifesaving health care they need.
Impacts on Immigrant Communities
Barriers to health care coverage substantially impact immigrant and refugee women and families, especially those with low-incomes. Lack of access to health care, including preventive care, contributes to poorer health outcomes for immigrants and refugees.
Federal law blocks undocumented immigrants from Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) entirely, and bans them from purchasing affordable health insurance on the ACA Marketplace — even with their own funds.
Although some states use their own funds to provide insurance for immigrants who are ineligible for other coverage, the threat of deportation is a significant barrier to health care for undocumented immigrants and their families.
Permanent residents can buy health insurance on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace, but they must wait up to 5 years before being able to access Medicaid.
About 60% of low-income, non-citizen immigrant women of reproductive age lack health insurance, which is more than twice the proportion of low-income U.S.-born women.
Lack of health insurance and high out-of-pocket costs are major factors in limiting immigrant women’s access to preventive health care, including reproductive care.
Because many immigrant women can’t access private or public health coverage, they are less likely than other U.S. women to access preventive health care — such as Pap tests, STD screenings, and birth control.
Many women in immigrant communities experience higher death rates from breast and cervical cancers, and some immigrant groups have higher rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections than other communities in the United States — all of which could be screened for, and in some cases prevented, with equal access to care.
Too often, poverty, language barriers, lack of transportation, the risk of detention and deportation, the mistrust of the medical community, or a belief that no providers serve undocumented immigrants interfere with access to health needs in these communities.
Even though they are eligible to enroll in health insurance, citizen children of undocumented parents are twice as likely to lack health insurance as children born to citizens. Undocumented parents often are unaware of their children’s eligibility or are reluctant to engage in anything related to the government for fear of having to identify their status and be reported to immigration law enforcement.
We believe no one’s health should be compromised because of their immigration status. Planned Parenthood believes all people should have access to quality, affordable health care — regardless of income, insurance, or immigration status. Planned Parenthood health centers are proud to see patients regardless of immigration status and are one of the few places that undocumented people can turn to for affordable, preventive and essential health care.
Know Your Rights
Planned Parenthood health centers provide affordable primary and preventive health care to all regardless of income, insurance or immigration status.
Remember: You do not need to tell Planned Parenthood health center staff you are undocumented or that you do not have a social security number. Instead, inform staff that you do not qualify for insurance and ask about other options for patients.
Payment Options: When making payments for services, it is important to note that all payments using credit cards or debit cards, checks, or third party insurances require a photo ID. Other options for payment can be cash, money orders or payments made by family or friends with photo IDs.
Confidentiality: HIPAA law requires Planned Parenthood health centers to maintain security standards and protect the confidentiality of health care data, and to ensure the privacy of patient records and health information.
Law Enforcement: Currently there are policies in effect — the ICE Sensitive Locations Policy and the CBP Sensitive Locations Policy — that limit and generally keep immigration law enforcement away from sensitive locations, including health care facilities. This is done to enable people to seek services without fear or hesitation, and to build public understanding and trust.
Your Rights: If a situation ever occurs where ICE or CBP enters one of Planned Parenthood’s health centers, remember ICE and CBP’s ability to enforce immigration law is limited by the Fourth Amendment constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure. You and all patients have a constitutional right to remain silent. You do NOT have to answer any questions and you have the right to contact an attorney.
Planned Parenthood health centers are committed to providing high-quality health care at affordable prices to all.