Need new health insurance NOW?

If you experience certain life changes, you don’t have to wait for Open Enrollment in November to enroll in affordable health coverage on or your state’s marketplace. You have 60 days after the following events to apply for a Special Enrollment Period and enroll:

• Moving to a new zip code or county
• Getting married or divorced
• Having a baby, adopting or becoming a foster parent
• Becoming a U.S. citizen or getting a green card

You have 60 days before or after the following to enroll: 

• Losing your health insurance from your job
• Turning 26 and aging off your parent’s health plan

And if you are experiencing domestic violence and want to apply for your own health plan, you can do so at any time.

Learn more about Special Enrollment Periods at or call 1-800-318-2596.


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« Protect REAL family planning clinics: call your Senator today | Main | Don’t miss your chance to oppose discrimination! »

“Public charge” rule forces cruel choice on immigrants

What will the “public charge” rule mean for immigrants?

This week, the Trump administration finalized a radical new rule, referred to as “public charge.” It would force immigrant families to choose between receiving federally-funded health, food and housing assistance, to which they are legally entitled, or being eligible to apply for green cards or visas.

How would the rule operate? A public charge is defined as an individual who is “likely to be primarily dependent” on the government for subsistence. Being considered a public charge is especially troubling for immigrants, as it could be grounds for the government to deny immigrants visas or green cards. In the past, immigrants could only be considered a public charge if they had received government cash benefits, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The Trump administration’s changes significantly widen the definition of public charge to include additional types of public benefits, including non-emergency Medicaid coverage, SNAP food assistance and housing assistance (i.e. Section 8 voucher and public housing). In addition, the government will now consider earning less than 125% of the Federal Poverty Level (about $15,000 a year for individuals, or $32,000 for a family of 4) as a strike against the immigrant and her family.

The proposed rule would disproportionately harm women and children. Women are the heads of 80% of single parent households, which means they are more likely to have incomes below the required minimum income. Children are also more likely to receive SNAP, which makes them more likely to be considered a public charge.

This is an unprecedented change. Public charge has been a long-standing rule that has remained the same for decades. These changes are estimated to affect as many as 24 million immigrants, including nine million children.

Though this proposal is not yet in effect, it has already created a chilling effect in health care, with many immigrants preemptively dropping out of essential public health programs for fear of being deported. Following the anti-immigrant attack by a gunman in El Paso, reports indicated that victims may have been forgoing needed medical care out of fear for their immigration status.

Unless the courts intervene, the rule is set to take effect on October 15. At least two lawsuits are already pending, including one lawsuit filed Wednesday by the attorneys general of Washington, Virginia, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico and Rhode Island. On Monday, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) also announced her intention to sue, summarizing the rule: “The Trump Administration’s message is clear: if you’re wealthy you’re welcome, if you’re poor, you’re not.”

What can you do?

While these cases proceed, you can take steps to help. Urge your members of Congress to co-sponsor legislation to block the rule from going into effect. Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) has introduced H.R.3222, the No Federal Funds for Public Charge Act of 2019 in the House and a Senate companion bill is expected soon.

Then help spread the word about the harmful effects on social media, using the hashtag #ProtectFamilies on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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