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Taking medicaid for pregnant wife a violation of affidavit of support?

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Hey all -- so I tried looking through the archives to answer this but I am a bit confused. My wife came in on a K1 visa and has since completed her adjustment of status. When we did the K1 process my father signed an affidavit of support because my income was just below the threshold. 

 

Obviously, circumstances have changed since them -- my household size has went from 2 to 3 even though my income now meets the original threshold for a 2 person household. We likely qualify for pregnancy care through California's medicaid program. Will taking this put me and my sponsor "on the hook" and violate what we signed in the affidavit of support? I have seen tons of different answers here so I am not really sure. Any help would be much appreciated.

 

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50 minutes ago, UCLA_Student said:

Hey all -- so I tried looking through the archives to answer this but I am a bit confused. My wife came in on a K1 visa and has since completed her adjustment of status. When we did the K1 process my father signed an affidavit of support because my income was just below the threshold. 

 

Obviously, circumstances have changed since them -- my household size has went from 2 to 3 even though my income now meets the original threshold for a 2 person household. We likely qualify for pregnancy care through California's medicaid program. Will taking this put me and my sponsor "on the hook" and violate what we signed in the affidavit of support? I have seen tons of different answers here so I am not really sure. Any help would be much appreciated.

 

California is one of those few states that allow almost anyone to qualify for Medicaid and not worry about being on the hook. This is based on what I see/read, so there shouldn't be an issue for you.

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16 minutes ago, Umka36 said:

California is one of those few states that allow almost anyone to qualify for Medicaid and not worry about being on the hook. This is based on what I see/read, so there shouldn't be an issue for you.

That is irrelevant---immigration regulations are federal, not state. YES, there is a big risk that this will be held against her, as Medicaid is on the list as a "public charge."

 

https://www.dhs.gov/news/2018/09/22/dhs-announces-new-proposed-immigration-rule-enforce-long-standing-law-promotes-self

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As far as I know;

If you are talking about “MediCal” that is state owned I believe you can use. This is the part where California differs.

 

if this is about Medicaid specifically that would be a federal benefit so you can’t use.


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40 minutes ago, databit said:

That is irrelevant---immigration regulations are federal, not state. YES, there is a big risk that this will be held against her, as Medicaid is on the list as a "public charge."

 

https://www.dhs.gov/news/2018/09/22/dhs-announces-new-proposed-immigration-rule-enforce-long-standing-law-promotes-self

California is a different beast.

 

"In California, for example, Medicaid is called "Medi-Cal" and CHIP is called "Healthy Families." These benefits are not considered for public charge purposes.

 

https://www.uscis.gov/greencard/public-charge

 

https://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/medi-cal--ca-medicaid---public-charge--green-card-2509584.html

 

Edited by Umka36

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I'l also note that the public charge concern is not the issue. It's the I-864 contract. What qualifies as a public charge is a separate issue from the benefits that one is permitted to use without reimbursement. Only certain means-tested benefits require repayment of funds.


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19 hours ago, databit said:

That is irrelevant---immigration regulations are federal, not state. YES, there is a big risk that this will be held against her, as Medicaid is on the list as a "public charge."

 

https://www.dhs.gov/news/2018/09/22/dhs-announces-new-proposed-immigration-rule-enforce-long-standing-law-promotes-self

Those are new "proposed and are not yet law. 

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3 hours ago, CEE53147 said:

Why have you not obtain medical insurance for her?  It is really foolish to ignore this essential purchase.

No one said that. She already has insurance but we could only afford insurance with a very high deductible -- if something horrible happened we would only have to pay $7,000 out of pocket, which would financially ruin us, but not as much as, say, $150,000.

 

Thanks for the answers all! We will still probably end up asking a lawyer anyway as all the answers we've seen here and elsewhere have been conflicting. 

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She has insurance.  She is your dependent and your income and assets as well as hers determine eligibility for income based benefits.  The first issue is not if it qualifies as a "public charge" but if she qualifies based on family income and assets.

 

You chose to buy cheap insurance - ie with a high deductible. I understand the problem of the cost and am sympathetic. Things were much better for many of us before the reforms to health insurance. Health insurance is our largest monthly expense. We pay over $1300/month for 3 people but nearly all of my over $50K  (soon to approach $70K when the nursing home bills are added) was paid.

 

Quite frankly, if you cannot afford the insurance deductible, you are going to have difficulty financially adding a baby to your household.  As any new parent can attest, children - especially babies in their first year and teenagers - are expensive. Been there, done that!

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2 hours ago, CEE53147 said:

She has insurance.  She is your dependent and your income and assets as well as hers determine eligibility for income based benefits.  The first issue is not if it qualifies as a "public charge" but if she qualifies based on family income and assets.

 

You chose to buy cheap insurance - ie with a high deductible. I understand the problem of the cost and am sympathetic. Things were much better for many of us before the reforms to health insurance. Health insurance is our largest monthly expense. We pay over $1300/month for 3 people but nearly all of my over $50K  (soon to approach $70K when the nursing home bills are added) was paid.

 

Quite frankly, if you cannot afford the insurance deductible, you are going to have difficulty financially adding a baby to your household.  As any new parent can attest, children - especially babies in their first year and teenagers - are expensive. Been there, done that!

We qualify for medi-cal based on income -- we are living paycheck to paycheck right now. While I initially made the decision to pay for her insurance out-of-pocket that is no longer feasible for us. If I could make even the additional $300-500 a month to pay for higher quality insurance, believe me, I would. Unfortunately that is not an option because we are both in school and both working as much as we can right now. We have family who can help us with the child and his/her needs -- the issue isn't raising the child, it's paying for the cost of actually having the baby. We have considered many different options, including having a home birth via midwife and going to my wife's home country of Mexico to have the child.

 

That being said, if we can get medi-cal without it violating the agreement I had signed earlier, that would be the best option for us and for our child by far. I have weighed the decision carefully and I am able to choose the right thing for myself and my family. Your response in no way helps answer my initial question -- all it does is judge a situation you have little knowledge about. Just because we cannot afford $7000+ out of pocket right this second does not mean we can't afford having a child in our current circumstances, nor would choosing to pay the additional $200/month for her insurance plus an additional $7000+ cost for our child's delivery in any way lower our future child-related costs. 

 

 

Edited by UCLA_Student

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3 hours ago, UCLA_Student said:

We qualify for medi-cal based on income -- we are living paycheck to paycheck right now. While I initially made the decision to pay for her insurance out-of-pocket that is no longer feasible for us. If I could make even the additional $300-500 a month to pay for higher quality insurance, believe me, I would. Unfortunately that is not an option because we are both in school and both working as much as we can right now. We have family who can help us with the child and his/her needs -- the issue isn't raising the child, it's paying for the cost of actually having the baby. We have considered many different options, including having a home birth via midwife and going to my wife's home country of Mexico to have the child.

 

That being said, if we can get medi-cal without it violating the agreement I had signed earlier, that would be the best option for us and for our child by far. I have weighed the decision carefully and I am able to choose the right thing for myself and my family. Your response in no way helps answer my initial question -- all it does is judge a situation you have little knowledge about. Just because we cannot afford $7000+ out of pocket right this second does not mean we can't afford having a child in our current circumstances, nor would choosing to pay the additional $200/month for her insurance plus an additional $7000+ cost for our child's delivery in any way lower our future child-related costs. 

 

 

Have you considered your assets? If you are full time students, you have insurance options available through the school. Do you have time to change to a better plan even if it costs more? Open enrollment begins soon.  Check how much difference there is in a lower deductible plan with the credits that are granted.

 

Are you sure her physician  will take Medicaid/Medical?  In my area, many physicians will not take Medicaid (or Medicare) patients. Her doctor is able to release her and others refuse her as a patient if (s)he does not accept Medicaid.  Have you discussed payment alternatives with the hospital and physician's office? Will she be limited to a Medicaid clinic for prenatal care? I know this is the only option in some areas.

 

I do not know the income limits or rules in CA however in my state someone with an income of $16K/year  because he lives rent free in a house owned by family is not qualified.  You need to look at what other rules you might run into especially if you are receiving gifts or support from family members since you mention that they are/will be helping you with living and baby costs.

 

IMO,  you are not asking all of the questions you need to.  Remember, even if she has no insurance emergency Medicaid will pay for delivery if you meet income requirements.  It is, IMO, the last option.

 

Needless to say, the health insurance system is broken badly. Obamacare helped a few and hurt many more. The cost,deductibles and co-pays are insane as is navigating the system where the plans change annually. Just when you find one that works, it gets cancelled and you have to start looking all over again.

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16 hours ago, CEE53147 said:

Have you considered your assets? If you are full time students, you have insurance options available through the school. Do you have time to change to a better plan even if it costs more? Open enrollment begins soon.  Check how much difference there is in a lower deductible plan with the credits that are granted.

 

Are you sure her physician  will take Medicaid/Medical?  In my area, many physicians will not take Medicaid (or Medicare) patients. Her doctor is able to release her and others refuse her as a patient if (s)he does not accept Medicaid.  Have you discussed payment alternatives with the hospital and physician's office? Will she be limited to a Medicaid clinic for prenatal care? I know this is the only option in some areas.

 

I do not know the income limits or rules in CA however in my state someone with an income of $16K/year  because he lives rent free in a house owned by family is not qualified.  You need to look at what other rules you might run into especially if you are receiving gifts or support from family members since you mention that they are/will be helping you with living and baby costs.

 

IMO,  you are not asking all of the questions you need to.  Remember, even if she has no insurance emergency Medicaid will pay for delivery if you meet income requirements.  It is, IMO, the last option.

 

Needless to say, the health insurance system is broken badly. Obamacare helped a few and hurt many more. The cost,deductibles and co-pays are insane as is navigating the system where the plans change annually. Just when you find one that works, it gets cancelled and you have to start looking all over again.

We weren't clear on the distinction between regular and emergency medicaid -- if we could take emergency medicaid without violating our agreement then we would probably do that and keep her normal insurance, provided that wouldn't "void" our eligibility for emergency medicaid. We are sure that we are eligible for regular medicaid though.

 

I will check through her school but because she goes to community college right now I doubt it. I have excellent health insurance through my employer but unfortunately, in a great injustice it does not cover any of my dependents...

 

This was very helpful info though, thank you. Apologies for my defensive tone earlier. We will probably end up contacting a lawyer soon and evaluating our options from there. Time is ticking down to the Nov 1 deadline, though! 

 

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"We have considered many different options, including going to my wife's home country of Mexico to have the child."

 

This is actually a good idea.

Edited by databit

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~~Moved to Moving Here and Your New Life, from Working and Traveling - As insurance questions are discussed here.~~


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Met Playing Everquest in 2005
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Filed 05-09-07
Interview 03-12-08
Visa received 04-21-08
Entry 05-06-08
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Cards Received01-22-09
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Cards Received02-22-11
Citizenship
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Interview 01-12-12
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