New Presidential Proclamation Requiring Health Care for Immigrant Visa Applicants Effective November 3, 2019
On October 4th. 2019, President Donald Trump signed a new “Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Will Financially Burden the United States Healthcare System,” which goes into effect on November 3rd, 2019. This Presidential Proclamation is separate from the Public Charge Rule, which is on hold in the U.S. due to a court injunction, and its implementation at U.S. Consulates has been delayed by the Department of State.
According to the new Presidential Proclamation, exluding refugees and asylees, applicants for immigrant visas will need to present evidence to the consular office at the time of their immigrant visa interview that they will be covered by approved health insurance within 30 days of entering the U.S. or that they have enough financial means to pay for “reasonably foreseeable medical costs.” The Presidential Proclamation asserts that “lawful immigrants are about three times more likely than United States citizens to lack health insurance.”
The Department of State has provided instructions on their website regarding how they will be implementing the new rules for all immigrant visa applicants with interviews on or after November 3rd, 2019 (See https://travel.state.gov/healthcare for more details). DOS has advised that inability to meet this requirement will result in the denial of the visa application and further indicated on its website that “Officers will review the medical and financial documentation that is already part of the applicant’s case file and may request additional information or documentation as needed.” Therefore, prior to the visa interview, applicants should review costs and eligibility requirements for approved health insurance plans and consider how they would pay for the reasonably foreseeable medical costs of any current medical condition they may have.
Approved health insurance, as indicated in the Presidential Proclamation, includes:
- employer-sponsored health plans, including retiree plans; unsubsidized health plans offered in the individual market within a State;
- short-term, limited duration health plans effective for a minimum of 364 days or until the beginning of planned, extended travel outside the United States;
- catastrophic plans;
- coverage by a family member’s health plan;
- U.S. military health plans, including TRICARE;
- visitor health insurance plans with adequate medical coverage for a minimum of 364 days or until the beginning of planned, extended travel outside the United States;
- medical plans under the Medicare program; or
- any other health plan with adequate coverage as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
For individuals over the age of 18, approved health insurance does not include coverage under the Medicaid program.
According to Law360, two Senate Democrats have urged President Trump to stop this proclamation from going into effect. Like the Public Charge Rule, the Presidential Proclamation may become the subject of litigation. However, as of the publication of this blog post, the Presidential Proclamation is still scheduled to go into effect on November 3rd, 2019, and applicants should be prepared to bring to their adjustment of status interview evidence that they will be covered by approved health insurance upon arrival in the U.S. or that they have enough means to pay for “reasonably foreseeable medical costs.” As such, applicants may seriously consider carrying a copy of their recent bank statements showing enough income to cover medical costs in the U.S. or a copy of their health insurance card and information about their health insurance policy confirming that their plan provides adequate coverage.
As it is still unclear how consular offices will be handling the new rule, and it is solely at the U.S. Consular Officer’s discretion to determine if the applicant has enough financial means to pay for any “reasonably foreseeable medical costs” or that the applicant will in fact be covered by a health insurance within 30 days of arriving in the U.S., immigrant visa applicants are advised to consider carrying evidence of coverage with them, even if they think they might be exempt from this rule.
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All information in this post has been sourced and paraphrased from Greenberg Traurig’s EB-5 Insights Blog, article “New Presidential Proclaimation Requiring Health Care for Immigrant Visa Applicants Effective November 3, 2019“, originally posted October 28th, 2019, by Kate Kalmykov and Bianaca Pipala. Read the original article in full here: https://www.eb5insights.com/2019/10/28/new-presidential-proclamation-requiring-health-care-for-immigrant-visa-applicants-effective-november-3-2019/