I singed Affidavit of Support for my in-law few years back. We were not planning to apply for any government assistance and were paying medical insurance for the in-law out of pocket. And then Obamacare happened and the cheapest insurance we can get now is 500+ a month now (vs 150 we used to pay).

I see that in the i-864 form there is this section:

"What Other Consequences Are There?

If an intending immigrant becomes a permanent resident in the United States based on a Form I-864 that you have signed, then until your obligations under the Form I-864 terminate, your income and assets may be considered ("deemed") to be available to that person, in determining whether he or she is eligible for certain Federal means-tested public benefits and also for State or local means-tested public benefits, if the State or local government's rules provide for consideration ("deeming”) of your income and assets as available to the person.

This provision does not apply to public benefits specified in section 403(c) of the Welfare Reform Act such as, but not limited to, emergency Medicaid, short-term, non-cash emergency relief; services provided under the National School Lunch and Child Nutrition Acts; immunizations and testing and treatment for communicable diseases; and means-tested programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. "

My questions are:

  • Does it mean we can apply "emergency Medicaid" and do not fear that we would have to re-pay it back?
  • What are other exceptions from section 403(c) I can't find a full list.
  • 3
    $150 for an elderly couple? Don't know where you are, but in California it means that the insurance only insures you until you actually need it, and then you get dumped. ObamaCare is exactly for these cases. You'll pay what it actually costs to insure you, true, but at least you'll get a product that is worth what you paid for.
    – littleadv
    Dec 17, 2014 at 6:09

1 Answer 1


For your first question, yes, you will not be held responsible for "emergency Medicaid" expenses. But emergency Medicaid is not really a regular medical insurance; it's only for emergencies; it won't cover you for normal sickness.

For your second question, I can find you the relevant law, but I can't tell you exactly what it means.

The "Welfare Reform Act of 1996" is another name for the "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996". The full text is available as a PDF here. Section 403 is codified as 8 USC 1613, so you can read a easier-to-read online version here. Part (c) is the 403(c) you are looking for.

As you can see, the legal language is really obtuse and hard to decipher. For example, the first item is "Medical assistance described in section 1611 (b)(1)(A) of this title."; what is that supposed to be? (It's actually another list.) And nowhere on these lists do you find the word "Medicaid". I believe, but am not sure, that emergency Medicaid is listed as the first item in that second list, which is described as "Medical assistance under title XIX of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq.] (or any successor program to such title) for care and services that are necessary for the treatment of an emergency medical condition (as defined in section 1903(v)(3) of such Act [42 U.S.C. 1396b (v)(3)]) [...]". How are you supposed to know that that is Medicaid?

Anyway, is there a particular program that you are wonder if it falls under this exception?

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