In a move to address the healthcare needs of young immigrants in the United States, President Biden has unveiled a plan to expand healthcare coverage for DACA recipients, also known as Dreamers. Under this initiative, eligible Dreamers would have access to healthcare coverage under Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. The proposed rule would allow almost 580,000 qualifying immigrants to access affordable medical insurance, providing many healthcare coverages for the first time.
Next, we will answer the following questions:
- Who is eligible for healthcare coverage under President Biden’s plan?
- What is Medicaid, and how does it differ from the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?
- Will DACA recipients have to pay for their healthcare coverage?
- What medical services will the proposed healthcare coverage expansion cover?
- When will Medicaid and Affordable Care coverage be available to DACA recipients?
- What can DACA recipients do in the meantime to access healthcare services?
Who is eligible for healthcare coverage under President Biden’s plan?
On April 13, 2023, President Biden announced a plan to expand healthcare coverage for DACA recipients. These individuals, also known as “Dreamers,” are young people who were brought to the United States as children and have grown up in the country. Many of them have lived in the US for most of their lives, and they have made significant contributions to their communities and the country as a whole. This proposal would allow Dreamers to obtain coverage under Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare”, if they meet other eligibility rules
What is Medicaid, and how does it differ from the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?
Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are programs designed to provide healthcare coverage, but they differ in several ways.
- Medicaid: Medicaid is a government-funded health insurance program that provides healthcare coverage for low-income individuals, families, children, pregnant women, and people with disabilities. The program receives funding from both the federal government and individual states. However, each state has unique eligibility criteria, benefits, and program administration.
- Affordable Care Act (ACA): The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a comprehensive healthcare reform law that seeks to provide Americans with greater access to affordable healthcare. The ACA achieves this through measures such as Medicaid expansion and subsidies, which aim to make healthcare more affordable for people of all income levels.
Under President Biden’s plan to expand healthcare coverage for DACA recipients, they can obtain coverage under both Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act if they meet other eligibility rules. Those who do not qualify for Medicaid can purchase health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace and receive subsidies to help them afford it.
Will DACA recipients have to pay for their healthcare coverage?
The cost of healthcare coverage will depend on several factors, including income level, eligibility for Medicaid, and the type of health insurance plan chosen. For example:
- If a DACA recipient qualifies for Medicaid, they will not have to pay for healthcare coverage under the program as it is free or at a very low cost to eligible individuals.
- If a DACA recipient is not eligible for Medicaid, they must pay for their healthcare coverage if they opt to buy a plan via the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace. The cost of a marketplace plan will depend on the individual’s age, location, income level, and plan type.
What medical services will the proposed healthcare coverage expansion cover?
The proposed healthcare coverage expansion will provide access to medical services typically covered by Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. These services may include:
- Preventive care
- Primary care
- Dental services
- Vision services
- Mental health services
- Substance abuse treatment
Please note that the medical services covered may vary depending on the state and the specific health insurance plan chosen by the DACA recipient.
When will Medicaid and Affordable Care coverage be available to DACA recipients?
The US Health and Human Services Department (HHS) needs to issue a proposed rule to broaden the definition of “lawfully present” in the United States, as it pertains to Medicaid and Affordable Care Act marketplace eligibility, to include DACA participants. The White House has stated that they anticipate finalizing the process by the end of this month. We will continue to provide updates on this topic as new information becomes available.
What can DACA recipients do in the meantime to access healthcare services?
DACA recipients can access healthcare services through community health centers or clinics that offer low-cost or free medical care to uninsured individuals. These clinics often provide preventative care, primary care, mental health services, and more. To locate free or low-cost medical assistance, regardless of immigration status, click here.