The Associated Press is reporting that the Biden Administration is rewriting regulations at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow DACA recipients access to the ACA and to ACA premium subsidies:
The action will allow participants in the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, to access government-funded health insurance programs. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter before the formal announcement on Thursday…
Charles Gaba has an estimate of who might be newly eligible:
There’s roughly 580,000 immigrants who have DACA status as of today. While all of them would presumably become eligible for ACA enrollment (and, therefore, federal ACA subsidies) via the change in their residency status, that doesn’t mean 580K new ACA exchange enrollees. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, around 39% of them are currently uninsured, or roughly ~230,000, give or take. The rest have other types of healthcare coverage just like most other Americans do.
Besides salami slicing some of the population that remains uninsured, what does this do to the ACA markets?
Individuals with DACA status are, by definition, fairly young. A couple hundred thousand fairly young and likely to be healthy individuals entering the ACA risk pools likely brings down the average risk score by a smidge. If premiums were automatically reflected of the likely risk pool, premiums are likely to drop a little bit. However, the premium setting cycle is pretty slow. The 2024 rates are being set right now with modest tweaks allowed through the summer but rates lock in for all of 2024 in September 2023 based mostly on 2021-2022 and some 2023 data.
Some states will have disproportionally more individuals with DACA status than other states. We would expect bigger (still small but bigger) changes in premiums here in either 2024 or more likely 2025. If there is not a rapid adjustment to the calculation of premium, we would think that we should see lower Medical Loss Ratios in the states with more DACA recipients than in states with fewer DACA recipients.