Coronavirus affects us all. We all need to be able to get care so that we, our families, and our communities are healthy and strong. It is safe to get Medical Assistance if you qualify so that you can protect your health during this crisis.
What is Medical Assistance?
Medical Assistance is a free health insurance program run by the state of Pennsylvania. It covers the costs of doctor visits, medicines, medical tests and hospital stays. It is available to many people with lower incomes. If you need Medical Assistance right away because you think you may have COVID-19, be sure to say that on the application.
Does Medical Assistance cover COVID-19 testing and treatment?
Yes. All Pennsylvania Medical Assistance programs, Emergency Medical Assistance, and CHIP will cover COVID-19 testing without a co-payment. Treatment is also covered.
Are there rules about which immigrants can get Medical Assistance?
Yes. Generally, humanitarian immigrants like refugees and asylees, people who have had green cards for more than five years, and “lawfully present” children under 21 and pregnant adults can get Medical Assistance.
People who have an immigration status that makes them ineligible for Medical Assistance may be able to get Medical Assistance to treat an emergency medical condition. This kind of Medical Assistance is called Emergency Medical Assistance. For example, some adults who recently got their green cards or who have temporary statuses, and people who do not have any current immigration status may be able to get Emergency Medical Assistance to treat an emergency medical condition.
I need Emergency Medical Assistance. What kinds of conditions qualify?
An emergency medical condition is a medical condition that has severe symptoms, requires medical attention quickly, and can lead to serious harm to a bodily function or part without treatment. For example, end-stage renal disease, cancer, broken bones, and high-risk pregnancies are often emergency medical conditions.
COVID-19 is an emergency medical condition in Pennsylvania. Emergency Medical Assistance is available in Pennsylvania for COVID-19 testing, diagnosis, and treatment
If I am eligible for Medical Assistance, will getting it harm my immigration case?
It is very unlikely. Getting any of the following will not harm your immigration case:
- Emergency Medical Assistance
- Medical Assistance as a child under 21 or a pregnant adult.
- Medical Assistance or Emergency Medical Assistance for COVID testing or treatment.
In addition, getting Medical Assistance will not harm your immigration case if you are a refugee, asylee, T-Visa holder, VAWA petitioner, Special Immigrant Juvenile, or U-Visa holder. If you are a green card holder, you can receive Medical Assistance without any risk to your green card renewal, and your U.S. citizenship application cannot be denied because you receive Medical Assistance. If you are a U.S. citizen, your citizenship cannot be taken away because you receive Medical Assistance.
Will I need to prove my immigration status if I apply for Medical Assistance?
Only if you are asking for non-emergency Medical Assistance for yourself. If you are asking for Emergency Medical Assistance for yourself, you will not need to give any information about your immigration status. If you are asking for Medical Assistance for other members of your family only, you will not need to give any information about your own immigration status.
If I apply for Medical Assistance, will my information be kept private?
Medical Assistance has very strict privacy rules. The information you put on a Medical Assistance application will be used only to determine Medical Assistance eligibility and to make sure those who are eligible are able to receive and use their Medical Assistance benefits.
What if I do not have Medical Assistance or any other health insurance?
Community health clinics, federally qualified health centers, and hospital emergency rooms must provide care to uninsured people regardless of their immigration status. You can search for community health clinics here.
COVID-19 testing is available to uninsured people. Call your local clinic to find out if they are doing COVID-19 testing. In Philadelphia, contact Philadelphia Department of Public Health Helpline at 1-800-722-7112 for information about testing.