Health insurance for green card holders can be a tricky field to navigate. There is a ton of red tape and a lot of information scattered all over the web. Who qualifies? What statuses are covered? What are the options for coverage? Here you will find everything you need to know about green card health insurance, answers to many of those commonly asked questions, along with how to apply for the coverage available to you.
What Is A Green Card?
A green card is also known as a Lawful Permanent Resident Card, or a Form I-55. This is the documentation needed to work and live permanently in the US. If you are a green card holder you are known as a permanent resident, which is a very basic requirement for moving to the US.
This is not the same as a nonimmigrant visa, which only allows them to work in the US and live on a temporary basis. There are restrictions on visa holders, whereas green card holders have all of the freedoms that US Citizens have. There are exceptions though, like the inability to vote in federal elections and not having the right to bear arms in some states, and far less leniency for even minor crimes to name a few.
If you’re looking to apply for a green card or visa, there are a handful of situations in when you would become eligible, and it works in sort of a hierarchy. First, if you are an immediate relative or family member of a US citizen, then you will find yourself at the top of the priority list. Next, there is a total of around 140,000 green cards reserved for preferred employees and workers who possess trade skills that the US needs.
If your country doesn’t have a long history of sending immigrants to the US, then you may be eligible for one of the 50,000 ethnic diversity green cards. There are also special situations, such as immigrants who are international broadcasters, retired employees of the US government abroad, and more which can be found here.
You may also be eligible if you are seeking refuge or asylum, which occurs when you experience persecution in your home country. If you are outside of the US, you would need to apply as a refugee, but if you are already at the US border, you would apply for asylum.
Long-term residents and special cases round off the list. For immigrants who have been living in the US for longer than 10 years, you can request a cancellation of removal, and would also need to show your immediate family would face exceptional hardships if you left. Other special cases may include government intervention for humanitarian reasons. Everyone else would find themselves in the lottery, in which they can hope to obtain their green card.
Can You Get Health Insurance With A Green Card?
Yes, health insurance for green card holders is available. There are a couple different options, so your specific situation will determine the plan type that would fit your needs best. For example, if you are someone who doesn’t stay in the US permanently, you may want an immigrant or visitor’s plan. If you are in the states on a more permanent basis, then you can get green card health insurance via the marketplace or private sector.
If you worked in the US before January 2019 and didn’t have green card health insurance for more than 6 days, you could have faced penalties. It is currently being decided which states will penalize citizens for not carrying health insurance and which ones will not consider it a requirement. While now many are exempt from the obligation to carry the insurance under US law, one should still consider the importance of green card coverage.
There are several situations which could apply. A few commonly reported are as follows: Different situations will require different coverage options. For instance, if you are someone who travels abroad often then an immigrant plan or visitors plan may be a more suitable option for you.
- The green card holder travels abroad often to his or her home country.
- The green card holder is permanently residing in the US.
- The green card holder just arrived and recently received his or her green card.
There are several providers we work with to get you the best rates and coverage.
Do You Qualify For Medicaid?
If you are a green card holder for 5 years or more then you may be able to be covered by Medicaid, LaChip, or a similar state health program. Lawfully present immigrants are eligible for coverage through the health insurance marketplace when not eligible for Medicaid. Qualified non-citizens oftentimes will qualify for Medicaid and CHIP programs providing they meet residency criteria per their region. The only exception to the 5-year residency rule is previous asylees and refugees now recognized as LPRs.
If you fall under a protected status or have a valid non-immigrant visa you may also qualify. You can visit the official healthcare website to see a full list of immigration statuses eligible for Marketplace coverage.
Where pregnant women and children are concerned the 5-year residency rule may be waived, however, that depends on the state in which they have applied. Normally they are considered as “lawfully present”. Click here to find out if your state is one who offers this option. It is important to note that having healthcare through Medicaid or CHIP is, in fact, a public charge and won’t interfere with their chances of becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident or US citizen when used responsibly.
Do You Qualify For Medicare?
When it comes to people over 65 health insurance for green card holders, it is very possible that you may qualify for the federal Medicare program or the state-funded Medicaid (or similar state-funded) program providing you have held your green card for 5 years or more. Please note that with federal and state-funded programs there will be certain requirements that must be met.
How To Apply For Medicare As A Green Card Holder
The first step towards applying and qualifying for Medicare insurance is to enroll. Please note that Medicare has to be purchased and is not freely offered by the US government. In 2018 the cost for the different types of Medicare was as follows:
- Medicare Part A - $422.00 monthly.
- Medicare Part B - $134.90 monthly.
- Medicare Part D - income based.
You will need to have all of the original copies of your immigration and status forms, your green card, proof of income and all identifying documents such as social security card, valid driver’s licenses or state ID card and your birth certificate. Call 1-800-633-4227 to make have an application mailed or fill one out online at MediCare.gov. Be sure to keep your appointments.
Medical Insurance While Waiting For A Green Card
If you are new to the US and are a new green card carrier then you may have options under the New Immigrants Health Insurance plans available. If you are still in the process of obtaining your green card then you will be considered a visitor until it is processed and approved. You would need to apply for a visitors health insurance plan until the process is finalized.
Immigration Situations Who Can Most Likely Purchase Coverage
- Lawful Permanent Resident
- Those granted asylum
- Those admitted to the US as a refugee.
- Those paroled from the Cuban or Haitian Entrant Program.
- Immigrants inspected and permitted to enter by border patrol as parole.
- Trafficking Visa
- Anyone entering under the Violence Against Women Act as a battered wife, spouse, parent or child of a citizen of the United States.
- People who fall under the Deferred Enforced Departure (most of these cases will be from Liberia).
- If the individual carries a TPS due to war or natural disaster.
- CAT or Withholding of Deportation
- Those who hold a non-immigrant status including work visas, student visas, and their dependents.
One of the best ways to find out if you qualify for green card health insurance today is through FirstQuote Health. One of our experienced agents will be able to help guide you through the process and match you with a suitable plan for your needs. To get started, enter the zip code of your current place of residence, and you can opt to just view quotes in your area, or hop on a call. Make sure not to wait too long before enrolling in a plan.