Offering Covered CA Coverage to the Undocumented

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On June 10, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 10 that may allow undocumented individuals to buy health insurance through Covered California.  Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), only “qualified individuals” are eligible to purchase Exchange coverage.  “Qualified individuals” are limited to those who are citizens or nationals of the United States or to aliens who are lawfully present in the country.

Senate Bill 10 directs Covered California to request a Section 1332 waiver from the Department of Health and Human Services so that it may offer health plans to undocumented individuals.

Section 1332 of the ACA allows states to apply for State Innovation Waivers that will let them implement innovative strategies to ensure their residents have access to affordable, high quality health care while maintaining the basic protections of the ACA.

If the waiver is granted, issuers offering coverage through Covered California will be required to offer health plans to undocumented individuals with coverage effective beginning January 1, 2019. These individuals will not be eligible for premium tax credits or cost-sharing subsidies.

The bill also limits the disclosure of information provided by an individual when applying for coverage.  The information can be used only for purposes related to buying Exchange coverage, such as confirming identity and verifying eligibility for coverage.