Health Coverage Options for Afghan Evacuees

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP 
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

Late afternoon of September 28, 2021, CDC, HHS and CMS posted this 6-page Fact Sheet (dated September 27, 2021).

“Most Afghan evacuees arriving in the United States will be eligible for health insurance. Afghan evacuees can access health insurance through Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Health Insurance Marketplace, or Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA). RMA is provided through the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and administered in most cases by state Medicaid programs. Eligibility for each coverage program depends upon the immigration status of the evacuee and the state where an evacuee is residing. This fact sheet provides information based on current law and will be updated if there are future legislative changes.”

Non-Citizen Eligibility

Afghan evacuees are entering the U.S. under three main immigration categories:

  • Afghans with a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV)
  • Special Immigrant (SI/SQ) Parolees
  • All Other Parolees (aka Humanitarian non-SI/SQ Parolees)

Any individuals who do not qualify for full Medicaid benefits based on their immigration status may be eligible for “emergency Medicaid,” which pays for services necessary to treat an emergency medical condition, if they meet all other eligibility requirements in the state. An individual eligible only for emergency Medicaid is permitted to enroll in Marketplace coverage with financial assistance if they meet all Marketplace and financial assistance eligibility requirements.

There’s also information regarding:

  • State residency
  • Applications for individuals moving to another state
  • Presumptive eligibility
  • Outstanding and application assistors
  • Reasonable opportunity period
  • Reimbursement for providers and facilities for COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccine administration for the uninsured
  • Additional guidance for states