DHS: No immigration consequences for noncitizens who use Medicaid, CHIP benefits

Noncitizens who use Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program benefits will not face immigration consequences, the Department of Homeland Security said Sept. 8. 

The rule clarifies that noncitizens requesting admission to the U.S. or applying for permanent residence will not be classified as likely to become a public charge for using most Medicaid or CHIP benefits, which can make someone inadmissible to the U.S. 

"The rule makes it clear that individual factors, such as a person's disability or use of benefits alone will not lead to a public charge determination," CMS said in a press release. 

The final rule, which takes effect on Dec. 23, does not expand eligibility for Medicaid or other programs but clarifies DHS policy for recipients. 

"People who qualify for Medicaid, CHIP and other health programs should receive the care they need without fear of jeopardizing their immigration status," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said. "As we have experienced with COVID, it's in the interest of all Americans when we utilize the healthcare and other services at our disposal to improve public health for everyone."

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