New Policy Removes Barrier to Health Access for DACA Recipients

A  new federal policy ensures people with “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival” (DACA) status are no longer barred from participating in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace. For years, a different legal definition of people who are “lawfully present” improperly excluded DACA recipients, who do have legal status across other federal programs. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates 100,000 DACA recipients across the U.S. may have been barred from accessing the Marketplace coverage because of it.  

The new final rule clarified technicalities of the definition of “lawfully present” as it relates to people eligible for ACA Marketplace plans and cost-sharing support to now include DACA recipients. This means things like advanced premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions are now available to DACA recipients purchasing Marketplace coverage. No changes were made to similar definitions in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  

The new rule takes effect in November 2024. DACA recipients who would like to purchase a plan on the Marketplace will have a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) that allows coverage to begin the month after enrollment. This SEP will last through January 2025 to ensure overlap with the national ACA Open Enrollment period. 

Every Texan looks forward to working with national, state, and local partners  to ensure DACA recipients are made aware of this change and have the tools — including enrollment assistor help — to take advantage of this new avenue to coverage and care. 

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