GNYHA will host a webinar to help hospitals advise and guide patients impacted by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) recently published final rule on “public charge,” a term used by US immigration officials to refer to someone who is considered dependent on the government for subsistence, generally via receipt of cash assistance. The rule, which takes effect on October 15, adds Medicaid to the list of programs that the government can consider in making a public charge determination. This will make it more difficult for immigrants in the US legally to stay as permanent residents if they’ve used—or are considered likely to use—certain public benefits such as Medicaid.

Under longstanding law, the government is entitled to take into consideration whether a legal immigrant has received certain public benefits when evaluating the immigrant’s application to change status (e.g., obtain a green card or visa extension).

The final rule differs from DHS’s earlier proposed rule on public charge by stating that Medicaid received by individuals under 21 years old and women during and for 60 days after pregnancy will not be considered in the public charge determination. Medicaid used for emergency medical conditions also will not be considered. The final rule also removes Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidies from the list of benefits that will be considered.

GNYHA remains concerned about how this complex, highly publicized rule will impact our members’ ability to care for immigrants and their families. GNYHA has been providing technical and other assistance to members on this issue since last year, when a version of the public charge proposed rule was leaked. We also sent comments to DHS and shared several anecdotal reports from our members that demonstrate the proposed rule’s chilling effect on patients and providers. GNYHA also has noted its belief that the final rule would cause legal immigrants to forego health care coverage out of confusion and fear, which would cause Medicaid revenues to decrease and uncompensated care costs to rise.

The date of GNYHA’s webinar will be announced shortly.