The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s public charge rule, which can make it more difficult for immigrants to receive green cards, does not apply to the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace.

“You don’t need to give up your coverage,’” said Chiqui Flowers, Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace administrator. The Marketplace is a state-level partner to HealthCare.gov that helps people who don’t have health insurance through work or other programs purchase insurance, in many cases with a subsidy.

“For the more than 100,000 Oregonians who signed up for 2020 coverage during the open enrollment period through HealthCare.gov, their tax credits that help lower their monthly premiums are not affected by the public charge rule,” she said.

A ruling by the Supreme Court on Monday, Jan. 27, lifted an injunction on the public charge rule. If someone is determined to be a public charge, it is more difficult to get a green card. The new rule expands the benefits that may be considered in determining a public charge.  

The public charge rule was expanded to include benefits such as food stamps; Medicaid-funded long-term care; Section 8 rental assistance and subsidized housing; non-emergency Oregon Health Plan (i.e., Medicaid) coverage for non-pregnant adults 21 and older; and federal, state, or local cash assistance programs.

“This may be confusing for some Oregonians. We want to make sure that they don’t give up their health insurance in this confusion,” Flowers said. “Applying for coverage and using tax credits are not included in the public charge rule.”

For 2020, eligible Oregonians received at least $450 in tax credits every month to apply towards their monthly premiums.

“Helping Oregonians find affordable insurance helps them live better, healthier lives and it benefits Oregon in cost savings and more efficient use of resources. Confusion about this issue could be harmful on many levels,” said Flowers.

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