The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was signed into law on March 11, 2021 as a signature effort to assist in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the related economic downturn. Included as part of the sweeping legislation is a program to fully subsidize COBRA coverage for six months starting in April of 2021. This expert perspective provides a short overview of COBRA and mini-COBRA, the major elements of the ARPA COBRA Assistance program, and considerations for state policymakers related to the program.
Examining the Public Charge Proposed Rule
On October 1, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State Health and Value Strategies program hosted a webinar, facilitated by experts at Manatt Health on the long-anticipated proposed rule released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on September 22. The proposed rule seeks to change how DHS determines whether immigrants—when seeking admission to the U.S., an extension of their stay, or status change to become a legal permanent resident—are “likely at any time to become a public charge” (i.e., dependent on the government for financial support). Consequentially, being determined a “public charge” may put immigration status at risk. The webinar reviewed the proposed rule and its potential impacts on consumers, states and providers. Specifically, we highlighted the key ways the proposed rule departs from current guidance, with a particular focus on the implications for Medicaid and other health-related public benefits, and how the proposed rule may impact consumers’ access to certain benefits.
Given the large number of questions received during the webinar, Manatt Health produced a Public Charge Proposed Rule: Frequently Asked Questions that condenses the questions into key categories of interest. We hope you find this resource informative and if the proposed rule is finalized, it will be important to revisit these and other questions to assess the impact of the rule on immigrants as well as states, localities, and health care providers.