Affordable Care Act: How immigrants are affected


Central California is home to tens of thousands of immigrants, but whether you're documented or undocumented is a huge factor in whether you're eligible for the Affordable Care Act. ABC30 talked to both about what this new law means to them and whether it will help them.

Cristina Zamorano is an immigrant living in Tulare County. She says many who like her are living in the country illegally and are scared to speak up when it comes to learning about the Affordable Care Act -- the new federal law requiring every person who's in the U.S. legally to sign up for health insurance.

But Zamorano says her children are in the country legally. Immigrants who are not U.S. citizens are not eligible to enroll in Covered California, the state agency implementing the federal law. But if their children are legal citizens they're required to sign them up for health insurance by March 2014.

Zamorano is currently undergoing the documentation process and hopes that when she is a legal citizen, she, too, can enroll in Covered California.

Elida Magana was just hired by the United Way to educate locals who are uninsured. She says she's a documented immigrant and is thrilled to finally be able to afford health insurance for her family.

Magana will pay $280.00 for her family of four. She's also excited that her mom, also an immigrant who is now a U.S. citizen, who has never been able to pay for health coverage, will now be able to afford it.

Magana says her mother has a number of pre-existing conditions and would have had to pay more than $600.00 to enroll in health insurance. She's already enrolled in Covered California with a plan that costs under $200.00.

Immigrants can only get Covered California if they are actually living here in the country legally, and have at least a satisfactory status in the country.

Enrollment for Affordable Care Act began Tuesday and will be open until March 2014.

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