I have a fever, cough, and shortness of breath, but I don't have social security or health insurance. What I do?
On March 18, the US government passed a law that allows states to provide COVID-19 tests to everyone - even those without health insurance. The law is called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
In practice, Utah health care providers are offering free COVID-19 screenings to everyone, even those without health insurance. You can call the hotline 1-800-456-7707 or see the Utah government website for more information. You can also research the following options for medical assistance.
The University of Utah Hospital
The University of Utah hospital hotline said they are offering COVID-19 tests to those without health insurance. If you experience symptoms of COVID-19, you should call their number, 801-587-0712. They have translators available for non-English speakers and that they will accept IDs from other states and countries (birth certificate or driver's license).
Those who call their hotline will be asked a few questions to see if they need a COVID-19 exam. Those with fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and those who are over 65, less than 2 years old, or who have a compromised immune system will generally qualify for an exam. They will talk to a nurse who will tell you where to go to receive an exam if you are eligible.
They are located in Sugar House, South Jordan, Farmington, Redwood, and Park City.
For more information, see their website: https://healthcare.utah.edu/coronavirus/.
On April 1, 2020, the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper published the following statement by Intermountain Healthcare,
“We know that many people are worried about the cost of testing,” said Rebekah Couper-Noles, vice president of operations. “What people need to be aware of is through the Family First Coronavirus Response Act, everyone is covered for COVID-19 testing, regardless of your insurance status.”
Intermountain Healthcare offers COVID-19 tests at more than 20 locations. You should call their hotline, 844-442-5224, before going to one of their sites. See the list of their locations on their website: https://intermountainhealthcare.org/covid19-coronavirus/get-testing/
Intermountain Healthcare also offers a symptom-checking chatbot that communicates in Spanish and English on its website.
Fourth Street Clinic and Other Free and Reduced Cost Clinics
The Fourth Street Clinic in the City of Salt Lake always helps people without health insurance. They are offering services to patients with symptoms of COVID-19. Their number is 801-364-0058 and their website is https://fourthstreetclinic.org/. Other clinics that serve the uninsured are found on this website https://www.freeclinics.com/sta/utah.
Community instant care clinics (instacare) may also help those with symptoms of COVID-19.
Although the COVID-19 exams are offered free to everyone, health insurance will be able to help with treatment costs. In most cases, the prescribed treatment is to rest at home, but in very serious cases, people are being hospitalized.
Some immigrants with few resources are eligible to receive health insurance through the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Utah changed its Medicaid program last year, so more people are eligible. If you are a permanent resident, see the Who Is Eligible page of this website to check if your salary qualifies you for Medicaid, https://medicaid.utah.gov/expansion/.
Permanent residents and those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) older than 65 years or who have disabilities may be eligible by Medicare. Please check this website to find out if you are eligible, https://es.medicare.gov/eligibilitypremiumcalc/.
To purchase private health insurance, you do not have to be a US citizen or permanent resident. Insurance plans are even available for tourists. Private health insurance is expensive, but it is an option.
Emergency Medical Services
Even if you do not have health insurance, it is important to seek medical help if you are seriously ill. Call 911 or go to the emergency room if you have severe symptoms such as trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish face or lips. There is nothing more important than life.
On March 18, ICE released this statement regarding police operations at COVID-19 hospitals and test centers, Updated ICE Staement on COVID-19. In practice, it appears that ICE is not currently taking enforcement actions at hospitals in Utah.
USCIS published this alert, Public Charge, regarding the effect of receiving COVID-19 related benefits on the public charge analysis.
*** THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS BLOG PUBLICATION IS ACCURATE AS OF APRIL 2, 2020. THERE MAY HAVE BEEN CHANGES SINCE THE TIME OF PUBLICATION. ***