Healthcare Access Is A Human Right For All!

Healthcare is a human right for all! As an immigrant living in Illinois, you have certain rights when it comes to your health, regardless of your immigration status. Do not be afraid to prioritize you and your family’s health! 

The services listed and discussed below are not considered for Public Charge.

 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

Immigrant Rights are Healthcare Rights: Frequently Asked Questions

Can I request an interpreter at a hospital or clinic?


You have a right to request an interpreter. Hospitals may provide an interpreter for you in person or via phone.




What is charity care / financial assistance?


According to Illinois state law, Hospital Uninsured Patient Discount Act, hospitals have a legal obligation to provide financial assistance to uninsured individuals because they do not pay property taxes. Sometimes hospitals refer to this assistance as financial assistance or charity care.




What if I’m not a U.S. citizen, can I still apply for hospital financial assistance / charity care?


Yes. Note that hospitals and clinics will ask about your Illinois residence to prove that you live in Illinois; and they will also ask about your immigration status to help you apply and enroll in the best health program available. Due to a federal law known as HIPAA, hospitals and clinics cannot not share any of this information with immigration or the federal government.




What are my Financial assistance options at a hospital?


Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for charity care / financial assistance or Emergency Medicaid. This assistance is available to all low-income individuals who meet the program’s criteria including undcocumented immigrants. Charity Care / financial assistance is available to all uninsured (sometimes underinsured) individuals who meet the low-income threshold and live in Illinois, regardless of immigration status. You will need proof of income, proof of Illinois residency, and identification. You need to complete a financial aid application within 60 days of receiving your hospital bill. Generally, you can find the application under the hospital Website’s “pay my bill” section. You can call the hospital too.




What is Emergency Medicaid?


For emergency treatment, undocumented Illinois residents can qualify for Emergency Medicaid when visiting a hospital’s emergency room. Coverage is available until the patient is stabilized or for a maximum of 30 days. End-Stage Renal Disease dialysis treatment is covered by this Medicaid program as well as some cancer-related medication and treatment. To qualify, the emergency has to have occurred suddenly and unexpectedly, caused by injury or illness, and requires immediate medical attention to prevent serious jeopardy to the patient's health, or serious impairment to bodily functions or parts. You will need proof of income, proof of Illinois residency, and identification. You will need to complete the financial aid application provided to you by the hospital. In most cases, the hospital applies on your behalf. If the hospital does not apply on your behalf, you have the right to request and submit an application.




If I apply for hospital financial assistance, will it affect my immigration status in the future?


Applying for hospital financial assistance / charity care does not affect your immigration status.




Can my information submitted at a hospital or clinic be shared with ICE?


Due to a federal law known as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), hospitals and clinics cannot not share any of this information with immigration or the federal government. Any application, such as emergency Medicaid or financial assistance, submitted is kept confidential, meaning your information cannot be shared with any other entity without your consent.




What are my options if I need to see a doctor, but it is not an emergency, and I don’t have medical insurance?


You can visit a Federally Qualified Health Clinic or a free and charitable clinic. Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) are clinics certified by the federal government that offer healthcare in underserved communities. The range of services vary, but can include prenatal, dental and mental health options on top of primary care needs. All FQHC clinics serve anyone who is low income regardless of immigration status. Costs are on a sliding scale, and most do not cost more than $40 for a regular visit. You will need proof of Illinois residency and identification. To find a FQHC clinic near you, visit: www.fqhc.org. Free clinics are volunteer-based, safety-net health care organizations that provide a range of medical, dental, pharmacy, and/or behavioral health services. All clinics serve anyone who is low income regardless of immigration status at no cost to economically disadvantaged individuals. You will need proof of Illinois residency and identification. To find a free clinic near you, visit the Free and Charitable Clinics Map.




Where can I get assistance for prescriptions?


FQHCs use two methods to provide low or no cost medication to patients. Ask about the 340B Medication Pricing program, which gives clinics the most common medications at the lowest rate possible. Clinics can also contact patient assistance programs at pharmaceutical companies.
NeedyMeds and RX Outreach are national non-profits that help patients find affordable medications. Visit www.needymeds.org or www.rxoutreach.org for more information.




Regardless of my immigration status, what other healthcare benefits can I access? do I have access to?


Below is a list of programs for low-income families who meet the income level requirements. You can apply directly at abe.illinois.gov.

  • Moms & babies: Pregnancy care and postpartum care, up to 60 days for mother and one year for child.
  • All Kids: Insurance coverage for children 18 years of age and younger
  • New Health Insurance Program for Seniors: Coverage for adults 65+ who do not qualify for Medicaid.
Other programs for immigrants who are uninsured or underinsured:




If I need assistance with applying with these resources, who can I call?


For assistance with your application, call an Immigrant Family Resource Program partner. Visit our IFRP page.





Find a health clinic near you HERE. To search for your local health clinic, click on the “view larger map button” and enter your zip code in the search bar.

Download our Immigrant Health Rights Fact Sheet here. Spanish version here.

If you need help accessing healthcare, call our Family Support Network hotline at 1-855-HELP-MY-FAMILY / 1-855-435-7693. Choose your language & follow the prompts. In the final option, press 7 for healthcare.

ICIRR is dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society.
©2020 Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
228 S. Wabash, Suite 800
Chicago, Illinois 60604
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