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How to get health insurance for new immigrants in the US?  

How to get health insurance for new immigrants in the US?

New US immigrants may face several challenges, especially when getting treated. The healthcare system in the US is complex and expensive, designed for US nationals, citizens, and green card holders. Anyone who is not a US citizen, resident, or green card holder will not be able to access domestic plans from healthcare.gov and will have to consider other insurance options. You will be considered a visitor if you do not fall into the above category and can consider the visitor insurance plans.  

There can be some situations, like: 

1. Your green card status is pending  

If you have come to the US and your immigration paperwork is still pending, you will be considered a visitor. There is a long waiting period before you get your green card or obtain LPR (Legally Permanent resident) status. When you receive the status of LPR, you can buy domestic plans from healthcare.gov only if you meet the eligibility criteria. You can choose Medicaid, Medicare, and other government programs if you meet the eligibility requirements, but typically new immigrants are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid.  

If your green card status is still pending, you can buy insurance plans from US insurance providers. These plans will typically cover medical expenses for any new illness or injuries, hospital stays, diagnostic procedures, lab tests, doctor’s visits, urgent care, acute onset of pre-existing conditions, and more.  

2. You got your green card but missed Open Enrollment.  

As a green card holder, you can get medical insurance in the US. You become eligible to enroll in government programs and buy domestic plans only if you meet the requirements. But if you have received your green card but have missed the Open Enrollment for Obamacare, you have no other options other than waiting for the next Open Enrollment date unless you are eligible for Special Enrollment.  

During that brief period, you need insurance coverage. This is when you can buy immigrant plans from a reputable US provider to get yourself covered until the next enrollment window.   

3. You got your green card but come to the US occasionally.  

Many immigrants have received their green cards but choose to shuttle between their home country and the US for personal reasons. You may be eligible for domestic plans but check the eligibility. You will have to apply for coverage during Open Enrollment. You can also buy immigrant plans during your stay in the US.  

4. You are a new immigrant but above 65 years of age.  

If you are 65 years and a new immigrant, you cannot buy Medicaid or Medicare plans. However, you can buy health insurance from healthcare.gov if you are a lawfully present immigrant. You may be eligible for lower monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs based on your income.  

You may qualify for premium tax credits that lower your monthly premium if your annual income is above 400% of the federal poverty level. You may qualify for premium tax credits if your yearly income is between 100% and 400% FPL.  

Which immigrant status can qualify to buy plans from healthcare.gov?  

  • Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR/Green Card holder)  
  • Asylee  
  • Refugee  
  • Cuban/Haitian Entrant  
  • Paroled into the US.  
  • Conditional Entrant Granted before 1980  
  • Battered Spouse, Child, and Parent  
  • Victim of Trafficking and his/her Spouse, Child, Sibling, or Parent  
  • Granted Withholding of Deportation or Withholding of Removal, under the immigration laws or under the Convention against Torture (CAT)  
  • An individual with Non-immigrant Status includes worker visas (such as H1, H-2A, H-2B), student visas, U-visa, T-visa, and other visas, and citizens of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau. 
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS)  
  • Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)  
  • Deferred Action Status (Exception: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is not an eligible immigration status for applying for health insurance)  
  • Lawful Temporary Resident  
  • Administrative order staying removal issued by the Department of Homeland Security  
  • Member of a federally recognized Indian tribe or American Indian Born in Canada  
  • A resident of American Samoa  

Visitor Guard® has several plans for new immigrants in the US. If you fall in the above categories and need a robust plan to cover you briefly during your stay in the US, we will be glad to help you out. To know more about the plans, contact us! 

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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