close
close

The Biden administration will issue a rule expanding access to DACA health care. Ohio Capital Journal

The Biden administration will issue a rule expanding access to DACA health care.  Ohio Capital Journal

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration will release a final rule Friday that would allow about 100,000 uninsured people in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to enroll in state or private health insurance plans covered by the Affordable Care Act, administration officials said.

The new rule from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services could allow uninsured DACA recipients to enroll in health insurance through a Health Insurance Marketplace plan or a state-administered Basic Health Program, also known as BHP , in the few states where these plans are available.

“By providing new opportunities for quality, affordable health care, this rule will give DACA recipients the peace of mind and opportunity that every American deserves,” White House Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden said on a call with reporters previewing of the final rule.

Only two states, Minnesota and New York, have basic health programs. Oregon will be third this year. The program, created in the Affordable Care Act, allows states to provide affordable health care coverage to low-income people who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. The programs are almost entirely federally funded.

In a statement, President Joe Biden said DACA recipients, often called Dreamers, deserve access to health care coverage.

“Dreamers are our loved ones, our nurses, teachers and small business owners,” Biden said. “And they deserve the promise of health care, just like all of us.”

There are approximately 600,000 DACA recipients who were brought into the country without permission as children. The Obama-era program protects them from removal.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said about a third of DACA recipients are uninsured.

“DACA recipients are currently three times more likely to be uninsured than the general U.S. population and individuals without health insurance … are less likely to receive preventative or routine health screenings,” Becerra said on Thursday’s call.

Start date November

The rule will take effect Nov. 1, “to align with the individual market open enrollment period in most states and to allow time for required operational updates,” according to a White House fact sheet. The measure could affect as many as 100,000 DACA recipients, the White House said.

“DACA recipients are no longer excluded from coverage by a quality health care plan,” Becerra said.

DACA recipients who are eligible to enroll in a Marketplace plan may also be eligible for “premium tax credit (APTC) advance payments and cost sharing reductions (CSRs) to reduce the cost of their Marketplace coverage, depending on their income,” according to the fact sheet.

The rule will update the definition of “qualified noncitizens” to receive Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program benefits to clarify the categories of noncitizens eligible for coverage. The rule does not change eligibility for these programs for noncitizens.

A senior administration official also noted that most DACA recipients have health care coverage through their jobs, but this rule will catch all uninsured recipients. The government official spoke to reporters on condition they not be named.

DACA recipients are currently awaiting a lawsuit that will likely go to the Supreme Court to determine the legality of the program after the Trump administration tried to end it. If the Supreme Court finds the program unlawful, it is unclear what will happen to the program participants.

GET THE MORNING HEADLINES IN YOUR INBOX