While incarcerated, felons’ health care is provided by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), which oversees the custody and care of over 195,000 persons currently serving sentences for crimes committed.
Even if felons have current insurance coverage through a regular health care plan, those policies are not active during incarceration.
Coverage resumes upon release from prison even when going to a halfway house or home confinement. All felons on probation can use their health insurance coverage.
For many of those incarcerated annually, they have had little or no previous access to health care. This makes the medical care they receive under the B.O.P. far better than they have previously had.
This blog post will cover whether felons can get Obamacare.
- The Affordable Healthcare Act
- Signing Up for Medicaid
- Felons Have More Health Risks
- Encouraging Felons to Apply for Obamacare
The Affordable Healthcare Act
With the passing of the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA), those previously uninsured adult citizens are now required to have health care coverage.
As an important part of the ACA, there has been an expansion of the Medicaid program which is the federal-state health insurance for those with limited or no income.
Under federal law, states must provide Medicaid to children, pregnant women, and disabled adults.
Expansion of this program for those states that elect to the expansion, they must now provide coverage to all non-elderly, low-income adults. This has allowed almost five million felons on parole or probation to become eligible for this program.
Signing Up for Medicaid
One of the features of the Affordable Healthcare Act is that while still in prison, inmates are permitted to sign up for Medicaid.
Typically Medicaid does not provide standard coverage for inmates except under the condition of a hospital stay of more than 24 hours. It can come into play at that time.
Many of the 650,000 released from prison each year are eligible for Medicaid. That is the reason for signing felons up for Medicaid while still confined, so they may have coverage from the date of their release.
Linking up those who enroll in Medicaid while in prison can help them receive the health care they need from the beginning.
What allows inmates to be able to sign up for Medicaid during incarceration is a result of the expansion of the Medicaid program to extend coverage to single and childless adults.
There are 25 states that have expanded Medicaid coverage. For those from those states, they can sign up for Medicaid while still in prison in order to have health care coverage after they are released.
Felons Face More Health Risks
There is a substantially higher rate of chronic diseases among prison inmates than in the general population. Few of those affected have any health care coverage.
That is, felons generally are in worse health with more chronic and infectious diseases than non-felons and have a higher mortality rate. Coverage through Obamacare therefore becomes even more important than ever.
There are many benefits that come from having medical coverage under Obamacare.
Upon release one of the most important tasks for felons is to find a job. With more limited employment options already, dealing with a chronic illness can prevent some of those from getting or holding a job.
Affordable healthcare can help them get and keep jobs.
With the prevalence of chronic diseases, infections, addiction, and mental health issues, having access to treatment can help prevent a return to their criminal ways and future return to prison.
Health care, including addiction and mental health treatment programs, have been shown to keep felons from going back to prison.
Coverage through Obamacare not only impacts felons’ health status but also reduces risk of infections from Hepatitis, HIV, and tuberculosis, which have a high prevalence in prisons, from being carried into communities following felons’ release from prison.
Having health care available, especially upon release can significantly affect those diseases from being spread.
Encouraging Felons to Apply for Obamacare
It is important to have the ability to get proper medical care, especially for felons dealing with serious physical diseases and chronic conditions.
Getting out or prison and finding a job presents enough challenges without the extra ones that come with medical issues. To help, get the free guide to getting a job. For many there is training available to make the transition easier.
For families of felons with medical problems, support them and encourage them to apply for Obamacare, beginning before they leave prison.
It will help make their transition back into society easier, make them healthier, and extend their lives through proper medical care.
What do you think about this blog post? Are you or someone you know a felon in need of health care? What has that been like and were they able to get Obamacare? Please tell us in the comments below.