On Thursday, the Biden administration announced plans to expand healthcare coverage to young adults without legal status who have been in the U.S. since they were children and are working or studying under the DACA program. Under the proposed plan, beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would be able to enroll in a health plan through Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act.
The Department of Health and Human Services is expected to propose a rule to expand the definition of “lawful presence” to include DACA recipients for purposes of Medicaid and Affordable Care Act coverage. The Biden administration expects to finalize this rule change by the end of April.
If the proposed rule is finalized, it would be the first time that DACA recipients are eligible for those health care programs. They would 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 agencies.
More than 600,000 DACA recipients live in the U.S., and an overwhelming majority were born in Mexico and other Latin American countries. This is a significant step towards recognizing the contributions of DACA recipients to our society and providing them with equal access to healthcare.