Typically undocumented immigrants, do not seek medical treatment, neither routinely nor after traumatic events like auto accidents. This may be attributed to a fear of deportation, a lack of insurance coverage, a lack of transportation, not being able to get time off work, and/or socioeconomic factors. Compared to naturalized citizens, undocumented immigrants have fewer visits to the E.R. annually and utilize ambulatory services far less.
Additionally, immigrants tend to drive without auto insurance, as most states require a valid driver’s license before auto insurance can be purchased. However, there are ways to obtain a legal driver’s license regardless of legal status. Driving without auto insurance, often results in additional expenses to the driver, as most states recognize this as a crime. Furthermore, auto accidents may financially devastate a household, if a driver with no auto insurance causes an auto accident.
No Health Insurance?
Unfortunately, undocumented immigrants do not qualify to receive health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). However, there are other options one can pursue in order to receive health insurance coverage, these include:
Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance
Some employers may offer a benefits package to their employees. Generally, when an employee enrolls in health benefit programs provided by their employer, they do not have to show proof of their immigration or citizenship status.
Anyone can purchase private insurance, regardless of legal status. However, the subsidies, that would normally help stiped the costs of private health insurance, are unavailable to undocumented immigrants; making this option more expensive.
Student Health Programs
Some universities and colleges provide health insurance coverage to their students. Typically when enrolling in a student health program, immigration status is not questioned, and plans are generally very affordable.
Community Health Centers/ Title X Clinics
Community health centers, and Title X clinics (like planned parenthood) charge fees on a sliding scale; the cost of treatment depends on the patient. Furthermore, public health centers (like the Emergency Room) have to screen, stabilize, and provide basic emergency care to their patients, regardless of immigration, insurance, or financial status.
Federally Funded Medical Centers
There are approximately 1,200 health centers that are federally funded throughout the United States of America. These facilities offer primary healthcare, dentistry, mental health care, and pharmacy services. They treat all patients regardless of their legal, or financial status.
How to Get Auto Insurance
Most states require a driver’s license in order to obtain auto insurance. Some states will issue a driver’s license regardless of legal status, these states include Washington D.C., California, Nevada, Illinois, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, Utah Vermont, and Washington.
However, if you do not reside in these states, you can apply for the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA). To qualify for DACA, you must have a high school diploma or a completed GED, you cannot have a criminal record, and you must consistently reside within the United States. If you qualify for DACA, you will receive a renewable two-year working permit, which will then allow you to obtain a driver’s license through the same channels as a naturalized citizen.
How To Get the Best Deal On Auto Insurance
Every state has its own minimum requirements for auto insurance. Policies consisting only of liability coverage will be cheapest, especially if you have a clean driving record. When purchasing insurance, you should get quotes from at least 3 separate insurance companies. These companies will compete with each other, and each may offer you a better deal. This way you can compare prices and pick what will work best for you.
Types of Insurance
This insurance will pay for medical treatment and property damages for the other parties involved in an accident if you are at-fault. Liability insurance protects your personal property/assets (like your home, car, savings, etc) if the other party sues you following an auto accident. However, for this insurance to cover all of your assets, you must purchase a policy limit equal to the value of your assets.
This insurance is only required in no-fault states; covering medical expenses, lost wages, and funeral benefits, regardless of fault in an auto accident.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance (UM/UIM)
This type of insurance coverage offers protection to you if the person that caused your accident has no insurance, or does not have adequate insurance coverage.
Collision and Comprehensive Insurance
These insurance policies are optional in most states. Collision insurance will cover damages to your vehicle when an auto accident occurs. Conversely, Comprehensive insurance will cover damages to your vehicle that occur from other circumstances, i.e. storms, vandalism, animal collisions, vehicle theft, etc.