Planned Parenthood believes all people should have access to quality, affordable health care — regardless of income, insurance status, or citizenship. For nearly 100 years, Planned Parenthood has provided high-quality, confidential, nonjudgmental health care to women, men, and young people across the country. As a health care provider and advocate, Planned Parenthood’s top priority is ensuring that all individuals have access to the health care they need, including the full range of reproductive health services. We all benefit when more people have access to health care.
Sadly, many immigrant individuals and families are unable to access quality, affordable health care coverage. Currently, federal law prohibits undocumented immigrants, as well as many lawfully present immigrants, from enrolling in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Federal law also blocks undocumented immigrants from purchasing affordable health insurance on the Marketplace. Learn about citizenship and eligibility for health care coverage.
Barriers to health care coverage substantially impact low-income immigrant women and families. Here are the facts:
- Approximately 60 percent of low-income, non-citizen immigrant women of reproductive age lack health insurance, which is nearly twice the proportion of low-income U.S.-born women.
- Because many immigrant women are unable to access private or public health insurance coverage, they are less likely to access preventive health care, such as Pap tests, STD screenings, and birth control than U.S. women.
- Lack of access to health care, including preventive health 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.
- Lack of health insurance and high out-of-pocket costs are cited as major factors limiting immigrant women’s access to preventive health care, including reproductive health care.
President Obama took a tremendous step forward in November 2014 by taking executive action to provide relief and expand deferred action for many aspiring citizens. Nevertheless, this relief is not permanent — and it also continues the unfair policies that exclude immigrants from accessing the health care they need. For permanent and comprehensive reform, Congress must pass legislation. And that legislation must ensure that immigrants have equal opportunity to health care.
Planned Parenthood will continue to advocate for quality, comprehensive coverage for all so that everyone, regardless of where they are from, can access the services they need no matter what. It’s good policy — and it’s the right thing to do.