President Trump issues Executive Order barring immigrants without health insurance

President Donald Trump issued a proclamation earlier this month which bars immigrants who do not have "approved" health insurance, or the ability to pay for it within 30 days of arriving in the country, from entering the United States. ­­­­­­­­

The proclamation is set to take effect on Sunday, November 3 at 12:01 a.m. ET.

Here is some important information about how Trump's announcement could impact you:

Q: Who will this proclamation apply to?

Trump’s announcement applies to those seeking entry into the United States through an immigrant visa, including spouses and parents of U.S. citizens as well as the immediate family members of lawful permanent residents.

It will not impact children of U.S. citizens, refugees, asylum seekers or an individual already in the country on a temporary visitor visa.

The proclamation also will not affect any visa issued before November 3 at 12:01 a.m. ET, any foreign national "whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State or his designee based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee," or anyone "whose entry would be in the national interest."

Q: How is "approved" health insurance defined?

The proclamation defines "approved health insurance" as any of the following:

  • An employer-sponsored plan including a retiree plan or association health plan
  • An unsubsidized health plan offered in the individual market within a state
  • A short-term limited duration health policy effective for a minimum of 364 days
  • A catastrophic plan
  • A family member's plan
  • A medical plan under chapter 55 of title 10, United States Code, including coverage under the TRICARE program
  • A visitor health insurance plan that provides adequate coverage for medical care for a minimum of 364 days
  • A medical plan under the Medicare program
  • Any other health plan that provides adequate coverage for medical care as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services or his designee

Q: Does health care coverage through Medicaid count as "approved?"

Medicaid will not count as "approved" health insurance. A plan under the Medicare program will qualify, but the proclamation states "for persons over the age of 18, approved health insurance does not include coverage under the Medicaid program."

Q: Is this part of the "public charge" rule?

Trump's healthcare proclamation is separate from the "public charge" rule.

The "public charge" rule, which was set to go into effect in mid-October but was blocked by a nationwide injunction, would make it much more difficult for applicants to receive a green card.

Previously, someone was ruled a public charge only if they were considered likely to "become primarily dependent" on the government through "public cash assistance for income maintenance."

Under the new guidelines, applicants would be required to provide significantly more information. The government will use a "totality of circumstances" approach in adjudication, considering such factors as age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, education and/ or skills, among others.

Individuals also would need to provide extensive financial documentation, including, but not limited to, their credit history, credit score, tax transcripts and information regarding health insurance coverage.

There's no finite time period on the injunction, and it will remain in effect until the judge issues a final ruling. That injunction, however, does not apply to the health care proclamation.

Find out more information about the injunction that was issued blocking the "public charge" rule here.

Q: Will this proclamation be challenged in court?

Experts predict that there will be multiple lawsuits filed seeking to block the implementation of the health care Executive Order. Meanwhile, Politico reported shortly after the announcement that "officials who oversee the nation's health insurance markets have privately raised concerns that President Donald Trump's recent mandate requiring visa-seekers to prove they can get health insurance may be unworkable and even illegal."

Q: What should you do?

Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm is continuing to monitor the situation and will let our clients know as soon as the circumstances evolve. Currently, there has been no guidance from the State Department on the implementation of this presidential proclamation.

This is an ever-changing landscape with a lot of fast-moving changes to the immigration world. We are monitoring all of them closely and making sure to reach out and advise as it impacts our clients.

As always, please do not hesitate to call Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm at 704-442-8000 or contact us via email with any questions.

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