Nonprofit Organizations Finding Ways to Provide Affordable Care for Undocumented Immigrants

Under the Affordable Care Act, approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants may be ineligible for acquiring subsidized coverage through federal exchanges, Medicaid coverage, and Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage. As a result, more and more of these individuals are turning to nonprofit organizations and community health centers for care. Recent programs have shown joint partnerships between different healthcare providers and nonprofit organizations to provide affordable wraparound healthcare services.

One model used to address this issue was through a partnership between Iora Health (a Cambridge, MA-based primary healthcare provider) and Grameen America (a nonprofit micro-lending organization based in New York City). Based on focus groups and surveys to assess needs and access to healthcare services among immigrant low-income female entrepreneurs, findings indicated that many women were ineligible for Medicaid or other private insurance because of immigration status. As a result, these individuals were unable to access healthcare services and resources within New York City. To address this issue, Iora Health and Grameen America developed Grameen Vida Sana for Grameen America members. Grameen Vida Sana is a $45/month benefit program that includes an affordable that includes primary care, personal health coaches, weekly group wellness meetings, educational materials, and access to health records. Grameen PrimaCare was established to provide oversight of Grameen Vida Sana and help with future implementation/replication efforts in other communities. A new clinic run by Iora Health will also open in 2014 to serve Grameen PrimaCare beneficiaries. If shown to be successful, a similar model/infrastructure can be adapted in other communities and serve as an alternative for providing care for the undocumented.

For more information about this developing endeavor, please click here.

Joanne Chan, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, Harvard School of Public Health