DACA recipients would access health care through the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance markets
WASHINGTON, DC – The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), today issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) which, it is finalized, would expand access to health care by reducing barriers for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Earlier this month, HHS announced plans to publish this rule by the end of April, and today’s announcement marks the fulfillment of that promise. The proposed change applies to health insurance markets, the Basic Health Program, and certain Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP) programs.
“DACA recipients, like all Dreamers, are Americans, plain and simple. The United States is their homeland and they should have the same access to health care as their fellow Americans,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said. “Every day, nearly 580,000 DACA grantees wake up and serve their communities, often filling vital roles and making enormous contributions to our country. They deserve to have access to health care, which will give them peace of mind and security.
“Young people who come to this country – in many cases the only country they have ever known as home – are working hard to build their lives here, and they should be able to stay healthy,” said Chiquita Brooks- LaSure, CMS administrator. “The Biden-Harris administration is committed to ensuring affordable, quality health care for all and to providing DACA recipients with the opportunities and support they need to succeed.”
The proposed rule, if finalized, would remove the current exclusion that treats DACA recipients differently from other deferred action individuals who would otherwise be eligible for coverage under certain CMS programs. If the rule is finalized as proposed, it could lead to 129,000 previously uninsured DACA beneficiaries receiving healthcare coverage. Over the past decade, DACA has provided peace of mind and work authorization to over 800,000 Dreamers.
The proposed rule would change the definition of “legally present” to include DACA recipients for Medicaid and CHIP purposes. In effect, this would extend Medicaid and CHIP coverage to children and pregnant women in states that have chosen the “CHIPRA 214” option for children and/or pregnant women, basic health program and Affordable Care Act market. DACA recipients should meet all other eligibility requirements to be eligible for coverage. In addition, DACA recipients would be eligible for financial assistance through the marketplace, such as premium tax credit advance payments and cost-sharing reductions if they meet all other eligibility requirements.
If the rule is finalized as proposed, DACA beneficiaries would be entitled to a special enrollment period to select a qualified health plan through a marketplace for 60 days from the effective date of the final rule.
This NPRM has a proposed effective date for all provisions of November 1, 2023. CMS invites public comment on the proposed regulations, and in particular on the feasibility of this date and whether to consider a different entry into force.