The woman who used to be the face of the Affordable Care Act’s website is a Colombian immigrant to the United States.
Speculation has swirled that the woman was living in the U.S. illegally, and therefore ineligible for benefits under the healthcare law. But the woman spoke to ABC News, using only her first name, Adriana, and said she has lived here legally for over six years and has a green card. That means she’s eligible for Obamacare benefits.
While Adriana told ABC that she personally has not tried to sign up for coverage, Obamacare can be a confusing system to navigate for immigrants like her.
Because she has lived in the country legally for over five years, Adriana can obtain benefits under the law. That means she can sign up for health insurance on the exchanges, receive subsidies, or obtain Medicaid coverage if her income is below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, according to Kaiser Health News.
If she had lived in the U.S. legally for under five years, Adriana could still purchase insurance on the exchanges and receive subsidies. But she would be ineligible for Medicaid coverage.
Lack of health coverage is a major problem for immigrants. Only 20 percent of the uninsured population in the U.S. is non-citizens, but they are three times more likely to be uninsured than people born here.
There are even tougher restrictions on undocumented immigrants. They are not eligible for Medicaid or subsidies under the law. Plus, they are barred from using their own money to buy insurance on the exchanges, according to Kaiser.
Jordan Fabian is Fusion's politics editor, writing about campaigns, Congress, immigration, and more. When he's not working, you can find him at the ice rink or at home with his wife, Melissa.