What are the health coverage options for legal immigrants?

There are various classifications of legal immigrants who are eligible to obtain health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

In the United States there are only three eligible categories to access the Health Insurance Market and access medical coverage. First, citizens, then nationals, and finally legally present immigrants.  

In the category of immigrants, there are qualified non-citizens, an immigration status that does not have a waiting period; humanitarian cases such as temporary protection status, asylum seekers, among other permits; non-immigrant visas, legal status as temporary permanent residents, LIFE Act, among others. You can consult the complete list in the following link: https://www.healthcare.gov/immigrants/immigration-status/

Eligible immigrants can access private health insurance and depending on different variables, they can access tax credits that reduce their monthly insurance premium. For example, immigrants with annual income greater than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) can get tax credits that lower their monthly premium. Also, immigrants with income between 100% and 400% higher than the FPL may qualify for credit and other savings.

Instead, qualified non-citizens can generally apply for and obtain Medicaid and CHIP coverage, however, the latter depends on the rules of each state. However, this category, which includes permanent residents, asylees, refugees and TPS, can obtain Medicaid or CHIP only after a five-year wait, when they already have an authorized immigration status.

Pregnant women who are eligible for Medicaid as qualified noncitizens can reduce the five-year wait and receive full CHIP benefits for their children.

On the other hand, an important aspect to consider when applying for Medicaid and CHIP is the concept of “public charge”. Having this type of benefits in medical coverage does not make immigrants a public charge or affect their chances of changing their status and becoming a resident or citizen.

Related news