New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

Trump’s Health Insurance Plan For Immigrant Visa Applicants

Author: Alena Shautsova

Trump’s Health Insurance Plan

President Trump recently announced that starting November 3, 2019, all Immigrant visas for those who are not exempt from the public charge rule should be denied unless a person can demonstrate that he/she will have approved health insurance coverage in the US within 30 days of entry or can cover the medical expenses. To avoid visa denial, a person would have to demonstrate that insurance will come from:

  • An employer’s sponsored plan
  • An unsubsidized health plan offered by the individual market within a State
  • A short-term limited duration policy effective for a minimum of 364 days – or until the beginning of the planned, extended travel outside the US
  • A catastrophic coverage
  • A family member plan
  • A visitor health insurance plan that provides adequate coverage for medical care for a minimum of 364 days
  • A medical plan under the Medicare program or
  • Any other health plant that provides adequate coverage as determined by Secretary of Health and Human Resources or his designee.

For persons over 18, approved health insurance does not include the Medicaid program.

Who is going to be exempted from these requirements:

  • Any person whose visa was issued prior to the date of the proclamation which is October 4, 2019;
  • Special Immigrants
  • Children of the US citizens, seeking to come in the following categories: IR-2, IR-3, IR-4, IH-3, IH-4
  • IR-5 visa applicants (provided that the applicant can demonstrate that his health is not going to be a burden on the US health system): parents of the US citizens
  • SB-1 visa applicants
  • Applicants under 18 (unless they are accompanied by parents)
  • Refugees, asylees, VAWA applicants and humanitarian visa applicants

Now, this particular proclamation is perhaps more effective in stopping any legal immigration than a wall that was supposed to stop “illegal immigration. It is so because for a person who has not been in the US yet and does not have a social security number it is impossible to apply for health coverage in advance. So, he/she will need to rely on family members or employer, unless will be able to obtain similar coverage overseas. Notably, DV lottery winners are not exempt from the requirements. It means they are most likely will have to purchase the insurance in their home countries.

Who will be affected the most by this new requirement? Since parents of the US citizens are partially exempt from this requirement, and so are children of the US citizens, children under 18 may use Medicaid, it seems that the most affected categories will be a. spouses of the US citizens (USCs) and permanent residents (LPRs); b. adult sons and daughters of the USC and LPRs; c. self-petitioner in EB1, EB2 categories; d. beneficiaries of the employment-based immigration where the employer does not provide health coverage (likely small employers since most employers are obligated in the US to provide health coverage). Also, many residents, of New York, for example, purchase health insurance via the New York Health Exchange: the website allows them to buy health insurance using “subsidies”. A holder of such a policy will not be able to add his/her spouse to it if a subsidy was used as it will disqualify the spouse from the immigrant visa.

07 October 2019
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