US approves health insurance for undocumented immigrants in Washington
The administration of US President Joe Biden today approved an application from northwestern Washington state to expand access to health insurance for all residents, regardless of immigration status.
The waiver application, which was filed last May, received consent from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Treasury Department, issued under Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
According to the two departments, this waiver will expand access to qualified health plans, dental plans and a state affordability program for Washington residents, whether or not they are undocumented.
“The waiver will help Washington achieve its goals of improving health equity and reducing racial disparities by expanding access to coverage for the uninsured population through the state exchange,” the departments said in a statement.
Approval is contingent on the state agreeing to the specific terms and conditions, but if these requirements are agreed, it will take effect from early 2024 to late 2028.
A state can file a 1332 application if it wants to pursue “innovative strategies” to provide affordable health care while retaining the protections offered through the ACA.
Another 20 states at that level have been approved for ACA Section 1332 waivers, including Alaska, Georgia, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Pennsylvania, according to The Hill newspaper.
In a move similar to Washington’s, Colorado expanded affordable health care coverage to include people living without legal status in the United States.