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Healthcare Hurdles Simplified: Expert Insurance Advice for New Green Card Holders

A US green card, also known as a Permanent Resident Card, grants an individual the status of a lawful permanent resident (LPR) in the United States. It allows the cardholder to live and work in the US on a permanent basis and is entitled to many benefits, but not all. Green card holders can utilize government-sponsored insurance plans only if they are eligible. Here are a few of the expert advice on insurance and healthcare for a new green card holder.

It is recommended to opt for employer-sponsored health insurance.

If you have a Green Card and are working, Employer-sponsored health insurance is a common and valuable option. As a green card holder, you are generally eligible to participate in employer-sponsored health insurance plans on the same basis as US citizens. Most employers offer health insurance coverage to their employees, including permanent residents.

They typically provide coverage for a wide range of medical services, including doctor visits, hospital stays, preventive care, prescription medications, and sometimes dental and vision care. Review the plan documents to understand the specifics of the coverage provided.

Employers often contribute a portion of the health insurance premium costs on behalf of their employees. This employer contribution can help reduce the cost of the health insurance premiums that employees need to pay. The specific amount of employer contribution can vary among employers.

Know about the Open-Enrollment period for green card holders.

As a green card holder in the US, you may be eligible to participate in the open enrollment period either through your employer or in the open market for health insurance. An Open enrollment period typically occurs once a year, thus, it is essential to be aware of the dates so that one can complete the necessary steps within that time limit.

During the open enrollment period, you can enroll in a health insurance plan if you are not currently enrolled, or you can make changes to your existing coverage. This includes adding or removing dependents, switching plans, or adjusting coverage levels.

Once the open enrollment period ends, you may not be able to make changes to your health insurance coverage unless you experience a qualifying life event. These events may allow you to enroll or make changes to your health insurance outside of the open enrollment period.

Understand the dependent coverage.

As a green card holder in the United States, you may have the option to enroll your eligible family members as dependents under your health insurance coverage. Generally, eligible dependents for health insurance coverage include your spouse and dependent children. The specific requirements for dependents may vary depending on the health insurance plan.

You can typically include your spouse as a dependent under your health insurance plan. This allows your spouse to access the same healthcare benefits and coverage as you. Age limits for dependent children may vary depending on the insurance plan. It is important to review the specific age limits and requirements of your health insurance plan.

Access to government-sponsored health insurance plans.

Green card holders may have access to the following different government insurance plans based on their eligibility:

  • Medicaid– Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides healthcare coverage to low-income individuals and families. Eligibility for Medicaid varies by state, and some states offer Medicaid coverage to certain categories of qualified immigrants, including green card holders. The specific eligibility criteria, coverage, and benefits vary by state.
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)– CHIP is a state-run program that provides health insurance to children in low-income families who do not qualify for Medicaid. Eligibility and coverage for CHIP also vary by state. Green card holders may be eligible to enroll their children in CHIP if they meet the income and other eligibility requirements set by the state.
  • Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace– The ACA marketplace, also known as the Health Insurance Marketplace, offers health insurance plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act requirements. Green card holders may be eligible to purchase health insurance through the marketplace. Depending on your income, you may also qualify for subsidies or financial assistance to help reduce the cost of premiums. You can visit to explore available plans and determine your eligibility.
  • Medicare– Medicare is a federal health insurance program primarily for individuals who are 65 years old or older or have certain disabilities. While most green card holders do not automatically qualify for Medicare, those who have lived in the US for at least five years as lawful permanent residents may be eligible.
  • Buying health insurance plans from third parties.

If you do not have access to employer-sponsored insurance or qualify for Medicaid, or any other government-sponsored health insurance, you can explore private health insurance options. Many insurance providers offer individual or family health insurance plans that you can purchase directly from them. Consider comparing different plans, coverage options, and costs to find the most suitable private health insurance policy for your needs.


In a nutshell, insurance is an essential consideration for green card holders in the United States. Proper insurance coverage helps protect you and your family from potential financial risks associated with healthcare and other unforeseen circumstances. It is crucial to carefully review policy terms, coverage limits, deductibles, copayments, and exclusions when selecting insurance coverage. Consult with insurance professionals for guidance and assistance in understanding the available options.

Pallavi Sadekar

Pallavi Sadekar

Travel Insurance Expert

Pallavi Sadekar is a seasoned insurance professional with over 17 years of experience in the industry. As the Head of Operations at Visitor Guard®, she brings a wealth of expertise to the field. With a profound understanding of insurance, Pallavi has consistently demonstrated her commitment to helping clients make informed decisions about their coverage.

Pallavi’s insights and advice has earned her recognition in esteemed publications, including Forbes, USA Today, and various online platforms. Her contributions to these outlets have solidified her reputation as a trusted authority in the insurance domain. Whether it’s navigating the complexities of visitor insurance, finding the right coverage for clients, or understanding the intricacies of visitor health insurance, Pallavi’s in-depth knowledge allows her to offer practical and informed guidance to her clients.


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