Immigrants urged to apply for federal benefits after demise of public charge rule

By: - September 27, 2021 2:55 pm

“We want Nevadans, including eligible immigrant populations, to know that applying for needed health insurance from Medicaid will not impact immigration status,” said Nevada Medicaid Administrator Suzanne Bierman.(Photo by Roger Brown from Pexels)

A Trump-era rule that deterred immigrants from seeking medical and housing benefits is no longer in effect, and Nevada officials are encouraging immigrant families who qualify for Medicaid to apply. 

The 2019 Public Charge Final Rule deemed immigrants ineligible to apply to be a legal permanent resident if they had accessed public support for health care or housing.  President Joe Biden rescinded the rule earlier this year. 

The previous rule had a “chilling effect” on immigrants, according to a 2020 study by the Urban Institute. The study found immigrants, especially in mixed-status families, were hesitant to enroll themselves or their children in programs such as Medicaid and SNAP (Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program).

“We are committed to improving the health of Nevadans and reducing the number of uninsured in this state,” Suzanne Bierman, Nevada Medicaid Administrator, said in a release. “We want Nevadans, including eligible immigrant populations, to know that applying for needed health insurance from Medicaid will not impact immigration status.”

The government is encouraging states to reach out to immigrants  to encourage them to apply, according to the release. 

Applicants for Medicaid may apply at any time at Access Nevada, or by calling 1-800-992-0900.  Those who are not eligible for Medicaid may qualify for subsidies and tax credits to help cover insurance premiums.  Eligibility information is available at  NevadaHealthLink.com or by calling 1-800-547-2927. 

“Immigrant families in Nevada have been reluctant and fearful of applying for Medicaid and other benefits because of the previous public charge rule, including immigrant parents whose citizen children are eligible,”said Charina de Asis, Director of the Governor’s Office for New Americans. “This new federal rule change is great news for immigrant families. We will continue to work with Nevada Medicaid and our community-based organizations to ensure that eligible Nevadans are aware of this change.”

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Dana Gentry
Dana Gentry

Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gentry began her career in broadcasting as an intern at Channel 8, KLAS-TV. She later became a reporter at Channel 8, working with Las Vegas TV news legends Bob Stoldal and the late Ned Day. Gentry left her reporting job in 1985 to focus on motherhood. She returned to TV news in 2001 to launch "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" and the weekly business programs In Business Las Vegas and Vegas Inc, which she co-anchored with Jeff Gillan. Dana has four adult children, two grandsons, three dogs, three cats and a cockatoo named Casper.