The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in its guidance to Medicaid Agencies, states: “While states are often required to establish the citizenship and immigration status of applicants, they may not require applicants to provide information about any other person’s citizenship or immigration status. For example, if a child is applying for Medicaid …the state may not require disclosure of the citizenship or immigration status of non-applicant parents or other household or family members.” https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pressrelease.pdf
This longstanding policy continues in effect. The CNMI Medicaid Agency forms that state they want CW-1 documentation or other immigration status information do not apply to non-applicant parents of U.S. citizen children or to other non-applicant household members.
The Medicaid agency may not ask about the immigration status of non-applicants. It may not require copies of CW-1 permits, affidavits, or other statements about the non-applicant’s immigration status. It may not deny benefits because of the non-immigrant status or failure to prove status of non-applicants. It may not refuse to accept an application for Medicaid benefits on behalf of a U.S. citizen child as “incomplete” for failure of the non-applicant parents to provide information about their immigration status.
What foreign national parents of U.S. citizen children can do
It is important that parents, filling out the Medicaid forms for their U.S. citizen children, do not list themselves as the applicants, because this creates confusion. Applicants are those for whom Medicaid is sought. Non-applicant parents can sign as adult guardians or representatives of their child or children.
It’s also important to realize that the Medicaid Agency can still inquire about the financial contributions and circumstances of the non-applicant parents and household members.
“…U.S. citizens of the CNMI are Americans and should be treated and provided the same opportunity to receive Medicaid service as any other American in the states. All Americans should be treated the same…,” said Helen Sablan, CNMI Medicaid director, in her March 15, 2021, written testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce.
If you need legal help in the CNMI with Medicaid or other public benefits, you may be able to get help at the Marianas Office of Micronesian Legal Services Corp. at (670) 234-7729/6243. (PR)