Presidential Proclamation to Block Entry for Uninsured Immigrants

On October 4, 2019, President Trump issued a proclamation that will require legal immigrants to gain approved health insurance coverage within 30 days of their entry to the U.S, unless they can prove that they are in a financial position that allows them to cover their own foreseeable medical expenses. In this proclamation, the president claims this policy is aimed at reducing the heavy financial burden placed on the healthcare system by those who are uninsured. 

This mandate will become effective on November 3, 2019 and will apply to a broad range of those seeking U.S. immigrant visas, including individuals seeking family-based visas and employment-based visas. Among others, will apply to spouses and adult children of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs), and minor children if they are traveling with a parent who is also immigrating. The proclamation includes a list of immigrant categories who will be exempt from the new requirements. This includes minor children who are either the child of a U.S. citizen or traveling without a parent who will be subject to the proclamation, returning LPRs, those seeking special immigrant visas from Iraq or Afghanistan, and any individuals who are deemed by the Secretary of State to either advance national interest or law enforcement objectives.  

The proclamation also contains an exclusive list of health insurance policies that are considered “approved.” This includes plans that are employment-sponsored, through a family member, through Medicare, and through TRICARE for veterans. Importantly, Medicaid is only considered acceptable for children 18 and younger, and any subsidized Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan is not acceptable for children or adults. However, short-term non-ACA plans authorized by the Trump administration will be considered acceptable. The list of approved plans contains a catch-all provision for any other plan that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services determines to be acceptable.

Officials within the industry are questioning the legality of the president’s proclamation and are confused about its implementation. Representatives from the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight say they’re unsure whether oversight of the execution of the proclamation is their responsibility, or the responsibility of the State Department. As the effective date of this proclamation draws nearer, there is sure to be increased confusion surrounding its implementation, and possible lawsuit challenging its legality.

If you have any questions on whether this new mandate would apply to you, please contact one of our knowledgeable attorneys at Berardi Immigration Law today to schedule a consultation.