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Administration Suspends Entry of Immigrants Unable to Cover Medical Costs

The Trump administration issued a proclamation, effective Nov. 3, suspending the entry of immigrants who cannot demonstrate that they will be covered by approved health insurance within 30 days of entering the United States or that they possess the resources to pay for “reasonably foreseeable” medical costs.

Citing the cost to taxpayers and health care providers of providing care for the uninsured, the proclamation states that the entry of immigrants who do not obtain health insurance financially burdens the health care system.

The suspension of entry applies to individuals seeking to enter the United States from abroad with an immigrant visa, which grants an applicant the ability to reside permanently in the country. The proclamation excludes certain applicant categories, such as current green card holders, individuals with immigrant visas granted before the proclamation’s Oct. 4 date, children (unless they are applying to enter the country with a parent), and immigrants entering on humanitarian grounds.

For the purposes of the proclamation, approved health insurance includes:

  • employer-sponsored plans;
  • unsubsidized health plans in the individual state marketplaces;
  • short-term limited duration health policies;
  • catastrophic plans;
  • plan of a family member;
  • coverage under TRICARE;
  • visitor health insurance plans providing coverage for at least 364 days or until planned travel outside the United States; and
  • Medicare coverage.

The proclamation excludes from the definition of approved health insurance Medicaid for individuals older than 18 and subsidized health insurance on the insurance marketplaces. It also requires the Departments of State, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services to submit a report within 180 days of the proclamation’s effective date assessing the need for any adjustments to the suspension and any additional steps to “protect the integrity of the [U.S.] health care system.”

This proclamation is separate in scope and application from the public charge final rule, which applied a prospective test to individuals applying for entry or for a green card while within the United States.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Shahid Zaman is a senior policy analyst at America's Essential Hospitals.

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