NOTE: Federal court orders have temporarily blocked the implementation of this rule. We will need to stay tuned to find out how the courts resolve the issue.
The Trump Administration recently announced a “presidential proclamation” that will take effect on November 3, 2019. The proclamation requires certain people to show that they will obtain health insurance within 30 days of entering the United States, or that they have enough money to cover their health care costs. The new requirement only affects certain persons who are applying for immigrant visas at U.S. consulates outside the United States. Persons who obtain immigrant visas then become permanent residents upon admission to the United States.
Who is not subject to the new rule?
First, let’s talk about the persons who will not be affected by this new requirement. The proclamation does not affect:
- persons under age 18, unless they are accompanying a parent who is also applying for an immigrant visa and who is subject to the proclamation
- children of U.S. citizens
- persons adopted by U.S. citizens
- parents of U.S. citizens, provided that the “sponsor demonstrates to the satisfaction of the consular officer” that his or her healthcare “will not impose a substantial burden” on the U.S. healthcare system
- persons who are not applying for immigrant visas.
How do applicants meet the new requirement?
Applicants for immigrant visas who are subject to the new rule must convince the consular officer that they meet the healthcare requirement. It is unclear whether the U.S. Department of State will establish standards based on the proclamation.
In order to meet the rule, applicants will need to show either (a) they will be covered by an approved health insurance policy within 30 days of entering the United States, or (b) they have enough money to pay for “reasonably foreseeable medical costs.”
The proclamation lists a variety of healthcare plans that would qualify, including:
- an employer-sponsored plan
- a family member’s plan
- an unsubsidized plan from the individual marketplace
- a short-term policy that is effective for at least 364 days
- a catastrophic plan
- a plan offered by the U.S. Armed Forces
- a plan under the Medicare Program
- any other plan that provides “adequate coverage” as determined by U.S. officials
We will need to wait and see how the U.S. consulates handle this new rule, beginning November 3, 2019.