Challenges Latina immigrants face to obtain and afford reproductive health services in California

As a result of health reform legislation, over 4.1 million Californians who are currently uninsured will be able to purchase coverage in the Health Insurance Exchange (most with the help of affordability credits), and 1.7 million low-income Californians will become eligible for Medi-Cal, the state Medicaid program. Latinos are one of the largest and fastest growing racial/ethnic groups to lack health insurance. Undocumented immigrants are explicitly excluded from the benefits and eligibility criteria under reform, and it is possible that even documented immigrants may face challenges taking advantage of expanded services and insurance availability.

In order to better understand how Latino immigrant women access reproductive health services in California, the challenges they face to afford them, and their perceptions about how health care reform will affect their use of services, we conducted a qualitative study among this population. Through in-depth interviews and focus groups in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, the project explores how California immigrants currently obtain reproductive health services and documents how they pay for their care. The project also documents what role different insurance companies and sites of health provision play into immigrant, including undocumented, women’s access to care. Additionally, the project explores what knowledge and gaps of knowledge women have about available reproductive health services, including medication and surgical abortion.