Understanding the Affordable Care Act can be difficult for immigrants. Eligibility for Obamacare varies for legal immigrants, and of course illegal immigrants are not eligible at all, and some families have a mix of eligibilities. Luvia Quiñones, director of the Immigrant Family Resource Program of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, says communication is also a problem.
"The language issue is also a barrier, given that, for example, right now the website is only in English and Spanish, and the immigrant community, at least in the state of Illinois, there’s over 40 different languages that are spoken among the community,” she said.
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Legal immigrants are all permitted to purchase health insurance through the exchange, but those who have held a green card for less than five years are not eligible for Medicaid.
Quiñones is giving a presentation on the topic today Friday in Washington at the Families USA Health Action conference.
The coalition got a grant of $1.2 million from the state to help immigrants understand the law, and about 45 people with 29 organizations are conducting outreach across the state.