Immigrant Health

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Immigrant Health: 5 Year Ban on Medicaid What Is It? In 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (PRWORA) was passed, which states that the federal government will no longer provide funding for health services for noncitizens during their first 5 years of residency in the United States. In addition, this law gave states the option to either ban noncitizens from receiving benefits (as the federal government did), or to cover noncitizens fully with state money alone. If states decide to provide services to immigrants during their first 5 years of residency, such as: TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, Chip (Husky B), then the state will cover 100% of the funds needed without assistance from the federal government.

How does the 5 Year Ban on Medicaid affect me? Initially Connecticut enacted the State Medical Assistance for Non-Citizens (SMANC) program, which continued to cover individuals through state-only funding. However, in 2009, due to a deficit in state funds, DSS attempted to implement Public Act 09-5 to nearly eliminate SMANC in its entirety, with a few specific exceptions as explained below. In May of 2011, the Connecticut Supreme Court upheld the decision and granted DSS the authority to close SMANC. This decision is known as the 5 Year Ban against immigrants in need of health benefits. The following categories of noncitizens are exempt from the 5 Year Ban: • Asylees • Refugees • Cuban and Haitian Immigrants • Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants • Veterans or active duty alien residents • And legally permanent noncitizen residents who have worked in the U.S. 40 qualifying quarters (some programs end eligibility after 5 or 7 years)