The Final Public Charge Admissibility Rule: Implications for Massachusetts

The revised federal public charge rule – which was finalized in August 2019 and took effect in Massachusetts in February 2020 – makes it harder for certain low- and moderate-income immigrants to obtain green cards or visas if they have applied for or enrolled in public benefits such as MassHealth or the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). This report describes the expected effects of the revised federal public charge rule on MassHealth and SNAP enrollment, and its downstream effects on the health of Massachusetts residents, health care providers, and the state’s economy.

This report updates and builds upon a November 2018 publication, The Proposed Public Charge Rule: An Overview and Implications in Massachusetts, which featured a similar analysis based on the proposed public charge rule. This current report analyzes the impact of the final rule, uses more recent data as the basis for its estimates, and updates the methodology based on new information. The estimates in this report do not account for strategies that are taking place within Massachusetts to try to mitigate the impact of public charge on enrollment in MassHealth - including intensive outreach and education in immigrant communities.