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Biden Administration Seeks to Expand Healthcare Coverage for DACA Recipients

Posted by Hugo R. Valverde, Managing Attorney, and Anna D. Colby, Attorney Social Media Marketing Manager | Jun 19, 2023 | 0 Comments

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According to the Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 34% of DACA recipients do not have access to health insurance coverage.

That's quite a large amount of people considering that there are over 800,000 Dreamers in the United States. Obamacare (Marketplace coverage) was started in 2010, but in order to qualify for it you have to either be a U.S. citizen or a qualified immigrant. Unfortunately the way the federal law currently stands, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients are not considered qualified immigrants for Obamacare coverage. For the last 11 years DACA recipients have only been able to access health insurance if they are employed, or if their state has alternative healthcare coverage rules. 

A new proposed rule from the Biden Administration aims to change that. The Biden Administration announced the Department of Health and Human Services' new proposed rule to amend the definition of ‘lawful presence' so that DACA recipients will be able to apply for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, where they may qualify for financial assistance based on income, and through their state Medicaid agency. 

The proposed rule has a proposed effective date for all provisions of November 1, 2023, but the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are requesting comment from the public on proposed regulations, and whether to consider a different effective date.

If the rule is finalized as proposed, DACA recipients would qualify for a special enrollment period to select a qualified health plan through a Marketplace during the 60 days following the effective date of the final rule.

We will keep you updated as to when the proposed rule comes into effect.

In the meantime, the Biden Administration shared that DACA recipients can access health care through Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) Health Centers, which provide affordable, accessible, quality primary health care to patients regardless of ability to pay, insurance status, or immigration status. HRSA Health Centers are located in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin. Locate a Health Center here.

If you have questions about your DACA status or any other immigration petition please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.

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