DACA Recipients May Become Eligible for Subsidized Health Insurance

On April 13, the Biden Administration announced a proposed regulation that would make DACA recipients, also known as “Dreamers,” eligible for health insurance coverage through Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.

According to the White House, “If finalized, the rule will make DACA recipients eligible for these programs for the first time. Under the proposed rule, DACA recipients will be able 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.”

Established in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was implemented to protect migrants who were brought to the US as children from deportation. DACA recipients can legally live and work in the US on two-year increments. However, as “Dreamers” lack legal immigration status, they do not currently qualify for government-subsidized health insurance plans such as those offered through the ACA or Medicaid.

If the proposed regulation is passed, it could have a major effect on the nearly 600,000 beneficiaries currently enrolled in DACA.

Although DACA enjoys more bipartisan support than many immigration issues, it remains to be seen if the proposed regulation will ultimately be implemented. Several Republican-led states are attempting to have the program declared unlawful and terminated, and DACA has been closed to new applicants since 2021. Therefore, legal challenges to the proposed regulation are to be expected, continuing to leave DACA recipients in limbo regarding the program’s future.

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