If you're one of the many Latinas who lack medical insurance, you may wonder how you can obtain adequate prenatal care during your pregnancy. Whether you're thinking of getting pregnant, are now pregnant, or already have a baby, there are ways of finding the help you need.
Several organizations are devoted to helping people, both Hispanics and non-Hispanics, who haven't found medical insurance through a regular health insurance company. Other resources, such as the National Hispanic Prenatal Line, specialize in helping Latinas. Their help can be obtained at no or low cost. Some of these organizations rely on answering services. Although that may seem impersonal, leave a message. These services deal with a lot of people every day, and sometimes they can't return all the calls they receive immediately. Have patience and keep calling—it'll pay off.
(supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
This is a very useful resource that gives information about health care for people whose income is too high to qualify for Medicare. Thousands of community health centers in the United States treat expectant women and their families. Health Care Centers will give you information specific to the state where you live.
On the website, you can enter your state and county to obtain a list of all the centers where you can receive treatment. Services may be free, or you may have to pay a small amount on a sliding scale depending on your income.
Some states have independent programs that help families with babies,especially families that earn more than the limit to qualify for Medicare benefits but not enough to pay for private insurance. If you call the toll-free number above, the staff will give you all the information you need to find a program in your state that fits your particular situation.
This organization doesn't provide health care but supplies information to pregnant women and moms about where to find help. When you dial this number, it automatically connects you with the calling center for your state.
This is a federal program that works in conjunction with every state to provide health care to low-income families. Each state has different eligibility requirements, which you'll find on the program's website, as well as the phone number you should call. This number is also in the yellow pages under County Social Service Office.<
National Hispanic Prenatal Line
This service, which specializes in helping Hispanic women who need care during pregnancy, is one of the best. Staff members will answer all your questions, tell you where you can find resources in your state, and mail you printed information. You might reach the answering service when you call. Leave a message and call again if they haven't returned your call within a couple of days.
This organization provides prenatal care for expectant women. You'll find the address of the closest center in the yellow pages of the phone book, or you can call the 800 number to get that location. You'll find a lot of information on the website in English and Spanish.
SCHIP is a great resource for you and your new baby. It provides health care to babies and young children at no cost or a nominal fee. In some states this program includes the whole family and even covers prenatal care. If you don't have private medical insurance, find out what the requirements are to sign up for this program before she's born.
Su Familia provides answers to all kinds of health-related questions concerning Hispanic families. They speak English and Spanish and may be able to help you determine how to buy medical insurance in your state.
By Lourdes Alcañiz, author of Esperando a bebé: una guí a del embarazo para la mujer Latina.
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