On March 9, 2021, the Department of Homeland announced the federal government will no longer defend the 2019 public charge rule. This means that consumers applying for free or low-cost coverage on Maryland Health Connection no longer need worry that affordable coverage through the marketplace will impact their immigration status.

The Trump Administration had expanded the public charge rule on Feb. 24, 2020, so that an individual’s application for entry into the United States or an application to change their immigration status could be denied if they use an expanded set of public benefits, including: 

  • Medicaid
  • Food Stamps
  • Temporary Cash Assistance
  • Section 8 Housing

Some benefits can still be considered in a public charge determination, such as receipt of Supplemental Security Income or payment for long-term care in an institution.