How can immigrants get health insurance?
Lawfully present immigrants and U.S. citizens can shop for insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace and purchase an Obamacare health plan.
Options for “lawfully present” immigrants
According to federal regulations, a “lawfully present” immigrant is someone who holds a “qualified non-citizen” immigration status, someone who is in the U.S. with a humanitarian status (such as asylum seekers and victims of trafficking), those on valid non-immigrant visas, and those immigrants who have had legal status conferred through other laws, such as permanent residents. You can learn more about the immigration statuses that are granted the ability to apply for Marketplace coverage here. Any lawfully present immigrant can shop the Marketplace. Those that earn up to 400% of the federal poverty line—$103,000 for a family of four—may be eligible for premium tax credits or other cost-savings when buying a Marketplace pan. Grab our free step-by-step guide to enrolling in Marketplace health insurance here. You can compare prices and shop for a Marketplace plan here or input your zip code below to see available plans.
“Qualified non-citizens” (such as green card holders) are also eligible to apply for coverage through Medicaid and CHIP. In some states, there is a five-year waiting period for application for Medicaid or CHIP for qualified non-citizens. But twenty-nine states plus the District of Columbia allow qualified non-citizens to apply for Medicaid without the five-year waiting period. And twenty-one of these states also allow for children and pregnant women to apply for CHIP without the waiting period. In states with Medicaid expansion, Medicaid eligibility includes those who earn up to 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL). That is equal to $33,000 for a family of four.
Options for undocumented immigrants
Undocumented immigrants are not eligible to shop for health coverage in the Marketplace or apply for Medicaid and CHIP, except in California, where low-income young adults may apply for Medicaid (called Medi-Cal in California) under Medicaid expansion up until the age of 25, regardless of immigration status. Learn more in our FAQ describing healthcare options for undocumented people.
To learn more about your insurance options or to get help enrolling in a Marketplace plan, call the HealthSherpa Consumer Advocates at (872) 228-2549.