Trump Administration Attempts Bar on Immigrants Lacking Health Insurance, but Judge Issues TRO

November 20, 2019

By Immigration Group

This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Laura Danielson is an active member.

Health insurance documentIn early October, Donald Trump issued a proclamation blocking the admission of individuals applying for immigrant visas who cannot demonstrate their ability to acquire health insurance within 30 days of their entrance into the United States. Any applicants who receive an immigrant visa after the order was to go into effect on November 3 would need to demonstrate when applying for a visa that within 30 days of entering the United States, they would have insurance in place. Individuals who were issued immigrant visas prior to November 3 but entering after that date are not covered by the proclamation.

Under the executive action, approved health insurance coverage includes coverage under any of the following plans:

  • An employer-sponsored plan, including a retiree plan, association health plan and coverage provided by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985;
  • 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 — or until the beginning of planned, extended travel outside the United States;
  • 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 — or until the beginning of planned, extended travel outside the United States;
  • A medical plan under the Medicare program; or
  • Any other health plan that provides adequate coverage for medical care as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services or his designee.

For individuals over the age of 18, Medicaid is not considered acceptable health insurance coverage.

The Trump administration is basing the action on Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act which permits the president to bar the entry of people deemed to be detrimental to the interests of the United States. This is the section of the law used to justify the travel ban. Critics are already arguing that extending this provision beyond physical security issues is impermissible and a court challenge is expected soon.

A federal judge has issued a Temporary Restraining Order on the policy, which prevents its implementation for at least 28 days as of its issuance on November 2.