Obamacare & Green Card Holders
Additional Restrictions for Obamacare & Green Card Holders
The passage of the Affordable Care Act enables lawful immigrants in the United States (such as Green Card holders) access to the nation's healthcare marketplace. Green Card holders may qualify to purchase health plans for this exchange. However, it should be noted that a recent initiative by the Trump administration to curb public assistance to Green Card holders will take affect soon.
As per the Los Angeles Times:
"Immigrants who rely on public benefits for food, housing and medical care could be denied green cards
under new rules put forth Saturday [9/25/2018] by the Trump administration that would in effect limit family-based “chain migration,” as the president calls it.
The administration said the rule announced by the Department of Homeland Security would affect about 382,000 people a year, but opponents have said it could have a far greater chilling effect, leading current green card holders to stop using public benefits for fear of being deported.
“Those seeking to immigrate to the United States must show they can support themselves financially,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a Saturday statement, adding that the new rule would “promote immigrant self-sufficiency and protect finite resources by ensuring that they are not likely to become burdens on American taxpayers.”
Eligibility & "Public Charge"
Here are the rules outlined on the USCIS website to determine if a new Green Card Holder is condsidered a public charge:
The officer must weigh both the positive and negative factors when determining the likelihood that someone might become a public charge. At a minimum, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer must consider the following factors when making a public charge determination:
New rules recently set for by the Trump Administration greatly inhibit the ability to Green Card Holders to enroll in federal & state-run government benefit programs, such as the health care market place:
"Under federal law, those seeking green cards must prove they will not be a burden to the state, or a “public charge.” But the administration’s new public charge rule would require immigration officials to give added weight to an applicant’s potential dependency on public assistance.
Officials would also have to consider certain medical conditions such as mental illness, cancer and heart disease as deciding factors because, according to the new rule, “an alien is at high risk of becoming a public charge if he or she has a medical condition and is unable to show evidence of unsubsidized health insurance.”
Elderly immigrants receiving discounted prescriptions through Medicare Part D could be forced to stop participating or lose their legal status.
Applicants who don’t qualify for green cards under the new rule could be asked to pay cash bonds of at least $10,000 to avoid being rejected.
... the proposal [has] already led immigrants to leave Medi-Cal" - Los Angeles Times
Additional Consideration in Determining "Public Charge"
The officer may also consider any affidavit of support filed on behalf of the individual under Section 213A of the INA. Presence or absence of a single factor cannot be the sole criteria for determining inadmissibility as a public charge, (unless that factor is the absence or insufficiency of an affidavit of support when required by the laws and regulations governing a specific immigration benefit, such as certain family-based adjustment of status applications).
In assessing the totality of the circumstances, including the statutory factors above, an officer may consider the individual’s receipt of certain publicly funded benefits. Not all publicly funded benefits are relevant to deciding whether someone is likely to become a public charge.
When determining whether someone is likely to become a public charge, USCIS will consider whether the individual is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.
How should a New Green Card Holder get Coverage?
Due to the new regulations put out by the Trump administration, we highly recommend AGAINST purchasing a government run health program, or purchasing a government subsidized health program. By participating in such a program, the green card holder will be subject to additional scrutiny and may risk loosing their Green Card status and therefore ability to stay long term in the United States.
We recommend purchasing a short-term policy in order to get comprehensive pre-existing coverage for Green Card holders, and not risk loosing your immigration status due to participation in these government health care marketplace schemes.