Health Coverage Options for Incarcerated Loved Ones

Health Coverage Options

In the United States, there are roughly 2.3 million people incarcerated, and as many Americans are aware of the issues brought up due to mass incarceration, there is one particular issue that mainly falls on the incarcerated individual and their family: health insurance. The world of health insurance is confusing and overwhelming enough on its own, now coupled with navigating the ins and outs of incarceration.

But, before we can even delve into which insurance incarcerated individuals are eligible for, we need to discuss locating the inmate you’re searching for. That in itself can seem daunting, but with the use of a federal inmate search, you can locate your friend or family member faster than ever before. An inmate lookup will provide you will all the information you may need. All you need to provide is an accurate spelling of their first and last name, as well as the state you believe them to be in. A lookup site will give you access to their marriage and divorce records, jail records, court documents, and several other sources of information. You may need to pay a nominal fee to access the full report, but it will be well worth a few dollars.

Now that we’ve located the person you’re searching for, we can discuss your insurance options. Correctional facilities have certain healthcare requirements, of course, this varies by state, but they are all indeed required to provide basic healthcare to their inmates. The majority of people incarcerated are uninsured, whether it be from the inability to maintain a job or not having the necessary funds; these people are on their own when it comes to their healthcare.

Typically, the correctional facility will provide coverage for treatment and other healthcare needs that are met on the premises of the correctional facility, however, the inmate will most likely be responsible for the copay. The money needed to cover their portion of medical costs will probably come from the money put into their commissary, or from the money earned while working at the facility.

 As of July of 2018, it was established that for those same inmates, they would most likely be eligible for (partial) Medicaid coverage as long as they are not admitted as an inpatient, which, in most cases, means receiving hospital care for 24 or more consecutive hours.

There are several insurance companies and coverage plans that are not available to those that are incarcerated. For example, Texas health insurance rules are pretty strict regarding inmates. None of the plans on the link provided are available to those detained. However, their past criminal activity should have no impact on their ability to obtain adequate health insurance following their release. 

Earlier, we talked about the majority of inmates being uninsured, but what happens to them upon release? If, after their release, the individual is still unable to obtain health insurance, there are some programs that offer free or radically reduced healthcare and treatment options specifically for individuals recently released from a correctional facility.

Hopefully, this information will help you to find adequate health coverage to help your incarcerated loved one. Just remember, they may have limited access to insurance providers while incarcerated. However, the facility will cover the majority of the costs for healthcare and treatment that take place in the facility. Still, the individual will be responsible for paying their copays, which can vary in price depending on the treatment needed. Finally, and possibly most importantly, your loved one should have no issue obtaining health insurance upon their release. We wish you luck in keeping your loved ones happy and healthy.