Closing the Health Insurance Gap for Justice-impacted Individuals

Access to essential medications for individuals re-entering society through new healthcare initiatives.

Justice-impacted individuals often find themselves facing a significant health gap, with limited access to essential medical services. According to a report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, released in 2022, formerly incarcerated individuals are more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions, mental health issues, and substance use disorders compared to the general population.

Source: Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health

Justice-impacted individuals may encounter legal barriers that hinder their ability to obtain health insurance. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded Medicaid eligibility, making it possible for many low-income individuals to access affordable healthcare. However, in some states, restrictions on Medicaid eligibility persist for those with certain criminal convictions.

Why Do I Need Health Insurance?

While some might see health insurance as an extra cost, it can be a valuable tool for your well-being and stability. Insurance helps you access essential healthcare services at a reduced cost, minimizing out-of-pocket expenses. Depending on your plan, this can include services such as:

  • Mental health services: Addressing past traumas and managing mental health conditions can help you move forward.
  • Substance use treatment: If you’re struggling with addiction, insurance can connect you with recovery resources and programs.
  • Trauma-informed therapy: Many individuals returning from incarceration carry past trauma. Therapy can help you process these experiences and develop healthy coping mechanisms.
  • Prescription medications: Costly medications for both physical and mental health are more affordable with insurance coverage.
  • Gynecological healthcare: Regular checkups and preventative screenings are important for women’s health, and insurance helps ensure these are accessible.
  • Prenatal care: If you’re planning a family, prenatal care is essential for both your health and the health of your baby.
  • Annual check-ups: Regular checkups enable you to stay on top of your health and identify potential issues early on.
  • Vision care: Maintaining good vision is important for overall health and safety.

Having health insurance coverage can help you prioritize your well-being and build a brighter future.

A Safety Net for Your Loved Ones

Having a health insurance plan isn’t just about you—it extends a safety net to your family as well. When you have access to affordable healthcare, you can focus on your well-being without worrying about the financial strain of potential medical needs for yourself or your loved ones.

  • Reduce stress for your family: Access to care can alleviate anxiety about potential medical bills.
  • Promote family health: If your family members require medical attention, insurance can help them access preventive care, check-ups, or even vision and dental care.
  • Strengthen family bonds: By prioritizing your health, you’re better equipped to be a strong and present member of your family.

What’s the Path Forward?

Efforts to bridge the health gap for justice-impacted individuals are underway, with advocates pushing for policy changes and increased awareness. Organizations such as the Health and Justice Action Lab are working towards dismantling barriers to healthcare for justice-involved individuals and promoting equitable access to health insurance.

Know the Options Available to You

Everyone has access to healthcare—learn which coverage plans the government provides and check your eligibility.

  • The Marketplace: A service offered by the federal government to help you enroll in health insurance by state. Explore your state’s plans.
  • Medicaid: A four-part system that provides health coverage for low-income individuals, families, and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Check eligibility.
  • Medicare: A service provided by both the state and federal government that offers low-cost health insurance based on income level. Check eligibility.
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): CHIP is part of Medicaid, dedicated to child coverage. Check eligibility.
  • Prescription Assistance: Most drug companies offer free or low-cost medication. Check eligibility.
  • Giving Insurance Freely for Transition (G.I.F.T.): An amazing opportunity for returning citizens, and anyone in transition, to return to the community with free health insurance. Learn More.

How to Access Free Health Insurance

Under the ACA, the rules have been revised to ensure inclusivity, guaranteeing coverage for all, regardless of pre-existing conditions or required medications. This means that justice-involved individuals and their families can access the healthcare they need without worrying about exclusions or limitations.

For more information, visit our webpage. There, you’ll find information, videos, and resources to help you get health insurance coverage.

Published On: April 11th, 2024|Categories: Health Insurance Resources, Mental Health & Wellness Resources|

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