Texas Migrant Care Network
Migrant families encounter numerous barriers on a daily basis seeking the employment they need to feed, clothe and house their families. Not surprisingly, obtaining health care services is also a formidable task for these children and their families. High mobility, lack of transportation, language and cultural barriers, inaccessibility to health care services, low socioeconomic status and lack of health insurance coverage are only a few obstacles faced by this population when accessing care.
Estimates on the number of Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers (MSFW) who reside in Texas range from 200,000 to 300,000. Further it is estimated that there are at least 100,000 migrant children in the state. The average migrant farmworker family lives below the federal poverty level (FPL) and 98.7 percent have annual incomes of less than $10,000 (US Department of Labor- DoL). Due to the low income levels of this population, a majority of farmworker families, particularly women of child-bearing age and children, should be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP. The DoL estimates, however, that only 13 percent of eligible farmworkers or their families used needs-based services such as Medicaid.
For migrant children who are actually enrolled in Texas Medicaid the coverage becomes practically moot as soon as they leave the state with their parents to work in agriculture or other seasonal work. While providers in other states can enroll to be Texas Medicaid providers, relatively few do, and those who do are mostly specialty care providers and hospitals. Furthermore, many migrant families do not know how to locate those primary care physicians in other states who will accept Texas Medicaid.
This section discusses a ground-breaking portability program that allows Texas MSFW's and their families to use their Texas Medicaid coverage in other states and access the same benefits they would in Texas.