Connecticut moves undocumented immigrant health insurance plan forward

Undocumented immigrant health insurance - young girl in hospital

The state’s lawmakers have taken another step closer to offering government-sponsored coverage.

Lawmakers in Connecticut heard what they described as emotional testimony last week as they move forward by another step in a plan for state-sponsored undocumented immigrant health insurance.

The legislation is being formed to provide coverage to individuals up to the age of 18 years.

“I’m looking at doing youth up to age 18. I looked at California and what they’ve done in California,” said Senator Marilyn Moore (D-Bridgeport). She added that she feels that it is not viable to offer undocumented immigrant health insurance to everyone, but that it is feasible to those under the age of 18 years old. “I want to say that I read through again last night the testimony and I know a lot of it is emotional from people who are actually suffering from not having health insurance.”

Among those providing testimony included New Haven’s Liliana Lopez. An interpreter assisted her in sharing her story, in which she described her lack of coverage but that her doctor fell very ill.

“So we took her to the emergency room despite knowing it was going to cost us a lot of money,” explained Lopez.

The undocumented immigrant health insurance would help to ensure children receive medical care.

Lopez pointed out that when taking a child to the ER, the first question is always whether or not there is health insurance coverage. Lopez did not have a policy for her daughter and was faced with the cost of expensive medical tests. Moreover, she explained that the hospital didn’t want to refer the girl to a specialist due to the lack of coverage.

Due to Lopez’ undocumented status, she does not qualify to use the Access Health CT exchange to purchase coverage. Moreover, this is not a situation unique to her.

“I know what it is like to be sick and afraid to seek care because it means making a choice between buying food or paying rent and my health,” said Dr. Eden Almasude, Undocumented immigrant health insurance - young girl in hospitalwho feels that she is a better physician due to her experience, but that “No child, no person should have to make that choice.”

The undocumented immigrant health insurance bill is now headed to the state Senate.

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