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We’re several days into a new President with a new administration and a new global health action agenda, and trust us, this is long overdue. The pandemic has created major setbacks all over the world, and the Biden Administration is ready to not only implement structural changes and revitalize global health leadership, but rebuild the lost trust among global partners.
Right now, the administration plans to mobilize partners to fund the UN Covid-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) designed to coordinate health and economic action in vulnerable countries.
Biden must also rejoin and rebuild the relationship with WHO, and strengthen not only the response to Covid-19, but all of the health challenges from maternal, child, and adolescent health to injuries, diseases, and universal health coverage. The Biden administration plans to coordinate with other member states to submit a World Health Assembly resolution doubling mandatory contributions to WHO.
Hopefully the US can remove and not add any more politicalization of WHO and maintain the scientific integrity and political neutrality.
The proposed action agenda is undoubtedly ambitious, but if successful will reap huge benefits. Hopes to emerge under the last administration with more global solidarity are prevalent, along with the opportunities to build a safer, healthier America.
Travel Bans and the US
As one of his last actions office, former President Trump lifted the ban on travelers from Europe and Brazil, which was once targeted at stopping the spread of the coronavirus to the United States. The United States has been off limits to travelers from the UK for the last ten months.
However, aides from President Biden have indicated the restrictions will actually get tougher once he is in office. Concerns are growing over the emerging Covid variants, and the Biden Administration have responded quickly to announce they will reinstate the ban when Biden is sworn in on Wednesday.
Aides to President Biden made it clear having these restrictions lifted did not make any sense and have placed getting control of the pandemic on the forefront of their administration. In fact, the administration plans to not only reverse these restrictions, but strengthen public health measures around international travel.
So what does that mean for travelers wanting to come to the US?
Right now, travel to the United States doesn’t seem likely until the virus situation here is under control. It may be closer to several months than several weeks, but with the new administration attitude of caution tourism, it’s smarter to book a trip to America once the new stipulations have taken affect.
Questions? Give us a call!
If we learned anything from 2020, it’s that making any plans for the year ahead is just plain useless. However, there are some definitive trends that have emerged:
Rise In Digital Health
Healthcare has been behind other industries digitally — until now. The pandemic has forced many practices to adopt digital methods like virtual doctor appointments and drive-thru clinics. Telemedicine has become a thing of the norm these days with app-based prescription services, FaceTime Doctor calls, and even prescription drop offs.
This drastic shift to digital has given better access to care and introduced patients to a new level of expected convenience. However, this shift has also shone a spotlight on health inequity. Patients who lack the digital technology or access to affordable internet may be left to the wayside.
Focus on Swiftness and Adaptability
The pandemic hit most institutions like an avalanche on steroids in nearly every aspect of operations. Some services, like intensive care and diagnostic testing were overrun. Others were shut down as elective procedures were postponed. However some organizations pivoted, transitioning to remote operations, re-assigning and re-training staff, and were able to supply tools to ensure continuity.
Traditionally, most organizations have prepared for specific incidents like this. The pandemic highlighted the critical value of leadership and how well it was able to adapt to disruptions on this scale.
Digital Risks In A New Digital World
Data breaches have always been a concern but are now on the forefront in health care as its transitioned digitally. Patients want confidence their privacy and health history is kept secure and confidential. Not surprisingly, health care saw a rise in high-profile ransomware attacks and now the industry has addressed the challenges that arise as virtual care increases. Measures have been taken to protect IT systems.
Overall, the pandemic has shown us that public health adaptability is crucial to the economic and physical well-being of the country. We continue to monitor the trends as the year continues and encourage you to reach to us with any questions or concerns you may have!
Public Charge and Health Insurance Explained
“Public charge” is a ground of inadmissibility, that is, reasons a person could be denied a green card, visa, or admission into the United States. In deciding whether to grant an applicant a green card or visa, an immigration officer must decide whether the person is likely to become dependent on certain government benefits in the future, deeming them a “public charge.”
Under the new rule, the term “public charge” refers to someone who uses more than twelve (12) months in aggregate of public benefits (i.e. Medicaid, SSI, CHIP) over a three-year period of time.
This rule also affects those seeking to extend or adjust their status while in the United States. For most immigrants, simply having public benefits like Medicaid will not harm immigration status because many immigrants are excluded from the public charge rule.
Under the new rule, public benefits on this list now include:
- Cash assistance such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and general assistance programs;
- Medicaid (with exceptions including coverage for emergency services, children under 21 years old, and pregnant women including 60 days of postpartum services);
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP, formerly called “food stamps”); and
- Federal Public Housing, Section 8 housing vouchers and Section 8 project-based rental assistance.
Additionally, in regard to the new rule, receiving public benefits will not automatically make someone a public charge. The use of public benefits is only one factor considered in determining whether an immigrant is likely to be a “public charge”. Most immigrants in Florida who are subject to the public charge rule are not eligible for the programs listed in the rule.
Covid-19 and Public Charge: All noncitizen should get the care they need. US Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that getting testing and treatment for COVID-19 (including a vaccine) will not trigger public charge. USCIS also stated it would take into account other factors in a person’s life due to the pandemic, like job loss and need for further benefits, or other situations that may impact a public charge decision.
Questions? If you’d like assistance to determine if you will be affected by this new rule, give us a call. We offer health insurance options within two categories: domestic health insurance and international health insurance.
In certain states, immigrants can purchase a non-ACA (Affordable Care Act) plan. These short-term plans can vary in length from one month to three years and can be purchased during Open Enrollment or a Special Election Period. Domestic Health Insurance cover all pre-existing conditions, and most carriers don’t require a SSN or Tax ID Number. Clients can apply for a subsidy to offset the costs of this plan, but it may not be considered in the Public Charge determination.
International health insurance is available in all 50 states and don’t require a social security number. They can be purchased before the applicants are in the United States and don’t have waiting periods. However – these plans are subject to an applicants medical history.
Here at E&M, we’ll work with you and your clients to find an appropriate insurance plan for their needs.With an insurance plan squared away before the Public Charge questionnaire is issued, you can significantly strengthen your client’s case for a U.S. Visa.
What does the future of health benefits look like under a Biden Administration?
With the election (and the majority of 2020) behind us, we’re now focusing on expected changes to health coverage and benefits when the new President and Congress take office. Here are some likely actions:
Health experts believe the Biden administration may create a special enrollment period for uninsured Americans to sign up for coverage. Where it was reduced in the previous administration, many hope the increase on marketplace advertising will help to enroll significantly more people with the ACA markets and Medicaid.
Policy Roll Back
Biden is expected to stop or “roll back” on a wide range of policies, such as short-term limited-duration insurance, Association Health Plan expansion, and other non-ACA coverages.
Revise Trump ACA Changes
Health experts also believe Biden will restore Obama-era non discrimination protections and stop approving waivers for Medicaid work requirements, revising guidance for state innovation ACA waivers.
Prescription Drug Cost
One of the proposals in the Biden Administration is allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, regulating the start prices of drugs without competition, limiting drug-price increases to the rate of inflation, and allowing personal drug importation.
FDA & COVID Management
Experts suggest Biden will try to depoliticize the FDA and empower the CDC to lead the public health response on Covid-19.
Biden has also shared his interest in revisiting the “public option” under Medicare for Americans and making the option voluntary vs. a single-payer model.
Regardless of the changes that will be made, know that E&M Globa are here for you and will make sure you are always informed of any change to your plan and work with you to ensure you’re happy with your policy. Questions? Give us a call!
Tick tock, tick tock…those two sounds are enough to kick-start anxiety! During this extremely busy time we wanted to remind you Open Enrollment deadlines are quickly approaching — do you have the coverage you need for you and your family?While shopping for Cyber Week deals, let US help YOU shop or make changes to your coverage! Individuals who receive health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have between November 1st and December 15th, 2020 to make changes. Medicare recipients have between October 15th and December 7th, 2020 to make any changes to coverage beginning January 1st, 2021.We recommend reviewing your current policy and checking in with your other family members to see if you had any changes to your health in the past year, if you haven’t already done so. By now you’ve received a call from us if your current plan is changing and have been asked about doctors and specialists you’d like to keep should we need to shop for a new policy for you. Sometimes, your doctor may leave the network or your drugs won’t be on the list of covered medications — which is where we step in. We will find a plan that better suits your needs and be sure to make the necessary changes during the open enrollment period for your upcoming coverage.Ready to make changes to your plan? Give us a call! Our award-winning team is ready and waiting to help you!
From our home to yours!
At our agency, we are grateful for many things, most importantly YOU!
Thank you for your business — we value you as a client and wish you and your loved
ones a safe, healthy, and happy Thanksgiving Day.
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E&M Global and Florida Health Insurance