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Capitol Correspondence - 07.27.21

CMS Issued Bulletin on Vacated DHS 2019 Public Charge Final Rule

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The Centers for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) issued an Information Bulletin informing states of a change to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulation, “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule” (the “2019 Public Charge Final Rule) and to remind states about the requirement to safeguard applicant and beneficiary information: Public Charge and Safeguarding Beneficiary Information (medicaid.gov)

The 2019 Public Charge Final Rule impacted individuals with disabilities by imposing stricter immigration policies on green card and visa applicants accessing Medicaid services. On March 11, 2021, DHS formally removed the 2019 Public Charge Final Rule from the Code of Federal Regulations and no longer consider an individual’s receipt of Medicaid benefits as part of the public charge determination, including CHIP benefits and short periods of institutionalization for rehabilitation. The only exception exists for individuals who are institutionalized for long-term care and receiving Medicaid coverage for their institutional services.

The Information Bulletin reminds states of their responsibility to safeguard applicant and beneficiary information. States may only share information about an applicant or beneficiary when sharing that information is directly related to administration of the Medicaid state plan. Sharing information with DHS about an applicant’s or beneficiary’s Medicaid or CHIP coverage for purposes of a public charge determination is generally not directly related to the administration of the state plan.