Medicaid Plans Walk Fine Line in Talking About Public Charge

New rules that allow immigration officials to consider use of Medicaid coverage and other non-cash benefits in considering whether to approve applications for legal residence are likely to cause a chilling effect on Medicaid enrollment, with the impact spilling over to utilization of other health programs and services, even among family members not directly affected by the rules. Medicaid health plans’ front-line staff members can help with messaging — but the nuances are tricky and communications must be carefully managed, experts say.

The Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule was issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Aug. 14, 2019. But after several states sued the Trump administration over the rule, preliminary injunctions prevented the regulation from taking effect last year. The Supreme Court on Jan. 27 ruled that the rule could take effect on Feb. 24 in every state but Illinois while litigation works its way through the courts.

© 2021 MMIT

Jill Brown Kettler Executive Editor

Jill oversees AIS Health’s publications and manages the health editorial staff. She joined AIS Health in 1999, and brings unique skills and energy to the company, along with an intelligent perspective on the forces reshaping the health care industry. She holds a graduate degree in health finance and management from Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, and was formerly a consultant with Arthur Andersen, where she worked with managed care plans, hospitals and medical groups on financial issues impacting their operations.

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