An application by Washington state to allow migrants — regardless of their legal status — to access health insurance by forgoing segments of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was approved by the Biden administration.
Washington’s State Innovation Waiver was approved by the Treasury Department and the Department of Health and Human Services under Section 1332 of the ACA.
The request’s approval is seven months in the making, as Washington state submitted its application in May.
The 1332 Waiver Washington state was granted is accessible to states wishing to pursue “innovative strategies” in providing affordable Health care while still benefiting from protections offered by the ACA.
The secretary of the HHS can approve a 1332 waiver application if the proposal provides coverage that is as extensive as coverage offered by the ACA.
Washington state’s request for an exemption, which meets the requirements for being as extensive as the ACA, was sought to exempt the state from excluding illegal migrants from accessing eligible and qualified health care plans — plans given the stamp of approval by the federal government and meet requirements of the ACA.
This exemption means illegal immigrants in Washington state can access qualified health plans in addition to stand-alone dental plans and a state affordability program.
In a joint statement announcing its approval of Washington state’s application, the HHS and Treasury Department explained the waiver would enable Washington state to reduce “racial disparities” and enhance “health equity” through the expansion of coverage for uninsured individuals. The statement also emphasized that the move would not increase costs for those already accessing the ACA.