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Changes for DREAMers

Good news for DACA recipients. The Biden administration recently announced a plan to expand health care coverage to Dreamers.

President Biden directed the Department of Health and Human Services to propose a rule that would amend the definition of “lawful presence” to include DACA recipients, so that they may be considered eligible to enroll in a health care plan through the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid. HHS has published the rule, and info about the proposed rule can be found here.

If finalized, the rule would make DACA recipients eligible for Medicaid and the Affordable Care act for the first time ever. DACA recipients would qualify for a special enrollment period to select a qualified health plan through a Marketplace during the 60 days following the effective date of the final rule, with a goal set by November 2023.

The proposal allows DACA recipients to apply for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, where they may qualify for financial assistance based on income, and through their state Medicaid agency.

“DACA recipients, like all Dreamers, are Americans, plain and simple. The United States is their home, and they should enjoy the same access to health care as their fellow Americans,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Every day, nearly 580,000 DACA recipients wake up and serve their communities, often working in essential roles and making tremendous contributions to our country. They deserve access to health care, which will provide them with peace of mind and security.”

Leaders of Republican-led states are likely to challenge the measure through the judicial system, but Democrat-led states should be accepting of Biden’s proposed health care protections for Dreamers. Approximately 580,000 DACA recipients are expected to benefit from this initiative.

By expanding access to the program, eligible DACA recipients could qualify for income-based financial assistance when they apply for these programs.

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