Health Care Law ÔÇô How Does It Help People Without Insurance, Jobs, Papers?
Below are some of the frequently asked questions NAM has heard since President Obama signed the health care reform law in March.
Q: I am a 32-year-old male who has just been released from prison. I have chronic hypertension and diabetes. It has been difficult to find a job and even more difficult to access health insurance. What can I do now and how will that change in 2014 when the health care law is fully implemented?
A: Currently, in California individual counties are responsible to provide basic health care services to persons who can't afford them and are not eligible for other public programs. There may also be a non-profit clinic available where you live that takes patients on a sliding fee scale depending on your income. However, after January 1, 2014, when the affordable care act is fully implemented, you will be eligible for Medi-Cal.
Q: My husband and I are both working but do not get health insurance from our jobs and cannot afford to buy private insurance. Although we are currently without legal status, our two children are U.S. citizens and are enrolled in California's child health insurance program, Healthy Families. Is there anything in the new health care law that could help our family get affordable health care?
A: Your children and other family members who have legal status will remain eligible for Healthy Families, Medi-Cal, Medicare, and will also be able to buy affordable health insurance in the new insurance marketplace. Californians without legal status will still be able to enroll in Emergency Medi-Cal to cover emergency treatment (if they meet other eligibility rules) and can continue to obtain affordable health services at their local community health centers and pay based on their income. In addition, due to the existing Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) requirements, hospitals will continue to be required to treat and stabilize uninsured individuals who need emergency treatment under the new health care reform law.
Q: I am a 45-year-old female who just got laid off. I don't qualify for COBRA ÔÇô the temporary continuation of health coverage former employees or their spouses get at group rates ÔÇô and I can't afford private insurance. Can I get help from the new law?
A: Today under the existing system, if you have children at home, you may be eligible for Medi-Cal coverage or if you do not have children at home, you may be eligible for county health care. You are also eligible to receive health care through community clinics. Several of California clinics have already begun to receive new funding that is provided by the Affordable Care Act. In total, the Act will provide $11 billion in new funding to Federally-Qualified Health Centers over the next five years.