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Planned Parenthood believes all people should have access to quality, affordable health care — regardless of income, insurance, or immigration status. However, many immigrants in the United States are unable to access quality, affordable health care coverage because of reasons like these:

  • While immigrants who are legal, permanent residents can buy health insurance on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace, they must wait up to 5 years before being able to access Medicaid.

  • Federal law blocks undocumented immigrants from 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 an additional barrier to care for undocumented immigrants and their families.

What’s more, the consequences of being undocumented can contribute to a culture of fear in the immigrant community and keep too many from seeking the lifesaving care they need. Bottom line: No one’s health should be compromised because of their immigration status. Health care is a human right. That’s why Planned Parenthood health centers’ motto is “care — no matter what”!

The Facts About Low-Income Immigrant Women

Barriers to health care coverage substantially impact low-income immigrant women and families.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Lack of access to health care, including preventive care, contributes to poorer health outcomes for immigrant women. For example, Asian and Pacific Islander immigrant women have high rates of cervical cancer, and more than half of all pregnancies among Latina women are unintended.

The Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Programs

In June 2016, the Supreme Court failed to reach a decision on the DAPA and DACA programs, whose full implementation would have been a critical step to ensuring the health and safety of undocumented immigrant families. This non-decision left millions of Americans at risk of having their families torn apart through deportation, and solidified their barriers to care. In the meantime, immigrants who were able to take part in deferred action programs still lack comprehensive access to critical health insurance and coverage programs under current law.

More on Immigration & Health Care

What’s the real solution for the multiple barriers to care that immigrant communities face? It’s a permanent policy that eliminates the fear of deportation, and which allows both equal opportunity to access health care and full legal presence in the U.S. on a path to legalization.

Related Resources

  • Latinos for Planned Parenthood: See how Planned Parenthood works with Latinos as patients, advocates, and supporters.

  • Health care coverage options: Find out what your eligibility is — no matter your immigration status.

  • Planned Parenthood Global: Learn about the program that works to make sure people in some of the world’s most neglected areas — including countries of origin of many potential beneficiaries of DAPA/expanded DACA — have access to the health care they need to control their bodies and their futures.