Health Access Guide for Uninsured: DACA and Undocumented

Low-Cost/Free HealthCare Options

FQHC and Free/Low Cost Clinics -There are many FQHC and Free Clinics in Illinois (Click here to view an interactive map)

  • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) are governed by federal rules that offer healthcare in underserved communities
    • The range of services vary, but can include prenatal, dental and mental health options on top of primary care needs
    • Costs are on a sliding scale – most do not cost more than $40 for a regular visit
    • These clinics serve patients regardless of immigration status
  • Free clinics are:
    • Volunteer-based, safety-net health care organizations that provide a range of medical, dental, pharmacy, and/or behavioral health services at no cost to economically disadvantaged individuals who are predominately uninsured.
  • Charitable Clinics are:
    • Safety-net health care organizations that provide a range of medical, dental, pharmacy and/or behavioral health services to economically disadvantaged individuals who are predominantly uninsured or underinsured.
    • Primarily operated by volunteer, licensed health care professionals and other volunteers that perform a variety of clerical and administrative tasks.

Charity Care (Also known as the Hospital Uninsured Patient Discount Act)All non-profit hospitals are required to provide a set amount of emergency care and financial assistance for some types of care to uninsured patients and sometimes underinsured. This does not take into account immigration status.

  • In order to qualify, patients must fill out the Hospital Financial Assistance Application as soon as possible – proving income and residency (live in Illinois, not related to immigration status) in Illinois. At Cook County Hospital, this is called CareLink
  • Hospitals are required to provide the application in English and in any other language that is the primary language of at least 5% of the patients served by the hospital annually.
  • To be eligible, patient(s) have to be in a household of less than 200% of the FPL (Federal Poverty Level) or 125% in rural hospitals. An individual making about $24,280 or less is under 200% FPL. However, some patients with higher incomes could get assistance with payment.
  • If you encounter problems at hospitals applying for their financial assistance please call IL Attorney General’s Healthcare Hotline 1-877-305-5145.

Hospital Financial Assistance PDF (Click Here)

Asistencia Financiera Hospitalaria PDF

Emergency Care (ER)- In 1986, Congress passed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act to ensure that all patients needing emergency care are treated until stable, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay

  • Generally ERs should be considered a last resort since they can only provide short term care.

Kidney Transplants for Undocumented Residents- On October 1, 2014, the Medicaid Omnibus bill went into effect which covers kidney transplants for select undocumented immigrants who qualify. In order to qualify, the individual has to:

  • Prove Illinois residency (similar to receiving a Temporary Driver’s License)
  • Fall under the income level of traditional Medicaid recipients (under 138% of the FPL)
    • 138% FPL is about $16,753 for one individual.
  • Be receiving dialysis treatments for kidney failure
  • Generally, it will necessary for the recipient to have a donor lined up (family member, etc.)


  • NeedyMeds- a national non-profit that helps patients find cheap medications regardless of documentation.
  • RxOutreach

Mental Health

Immigrant Mental Health Directory -Variety of agencies/ centers that may be useful for those seeking mental health assistance.

Family/ Children Coverage

All Kids

  • Insurance program for children 18 years of age and younger, regardless of immigration status
  • Requirements: Illinois Resident and Family income below certain levels based on household size
  • Families pay a premium and copays for this insurance depending on family income
  • Children age out of this insurance option when they turn 19 years

Family Care

  • coverage for a parent/caretaker who is a U.S. citizen, Lawful Permanent Resident for 5 or more years, or other qualified immigrant, living and caring for children younger than 18 years.


Insurance Coverage Options

Get Covered Illinois

  • Purchase health insurance through here to be eligible for tax credit and tax subsidies if you have an income within 100% to 400% of the federal poverty level

Medicaid- Joint federal and state program that, together with the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), provides health coverage to over 72.5 million Americans, including children, pregnant women, parents, seniors, and individuals with disabilities.

  • Emergency Medicaid- For serious emergency treatment, undocumented residents can qualify for Emergency Medicaid
    • This is limited to a condition that:
      1. Occurred suddenly and unexpectedly,
      2. Caused by injury or illness, and
      3. Requires immediate medical attention to prevent serious jeopardy to patient's health, or serious impairment to bodily functions or parts.
    • Coverage can only extend to a maximum of 30 days of care and until the patient is stabilized
    • End-Stage Renal Disease dialysis treatment is covered by this Medicaid program as well as some cancer-related medication and treatment

If you need assistance enrolling in a Medicaid plan, (Click here) to view a list of community organizations enrolled in the Immigrant Family Resource Program (IFRP).


  • Medicaid program for Cook County Residents
  • must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident for 5 or more years, or other qualified immigrant

Prenatal/ Neonatal Coverage

Moms and Babies -This program is for pregnant and post-pregnancy women and their newborn children – there are no premiums or copays.

  • This program must be applied for separately from MPE and covers hospital services related to pregnancy.
  • Moms and Babies covers mothers for in-patient hospital care as well as outpatient care for the duration of pregnancy as well as 60 days after giving birth.
  • The program also covers the newborn child for one year.
  • Separate income requirements apply.

Medicaid Presumptive Eligibility (MPE) -This program is for pregnant and post-pregnancy women and their newborn children – there are no premiums or copays.

  • This is available regardless of immigration status and covers up to 2 months of outpatient care for pregnant women.
  • This coverage includes prenatal checkups, doctor visits, lab tests, prenatal vitamins, medicine, specialty medical care, eye care, dental care, emergency room care, mental health and substance abuse services, transportation to get medical care and other related services.
  • Income requirements are the same as for Medicaid recipients (138% federal poverty level)