Things Immigrant families need to know about Health Insurance
Immigrant families have important details to consider when thinking about Health Insurance. If you recently changed your immigration status and moved to the United States, here are some things you should know about health care coverage:
To buy private health insurance through the Marketplace, you must be a U.S. citizen. If you’re not a citizen you must be lawfully present in the United States. (Here is a list of immigration statuses that qualify for coverage). If you recently gained U.S. citizenship or changed your immigration status, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. (Check here to enroll in a Marketplace health plan outside Open Enrollment).
Lawfully present immigrants can buy private health insurance. Based on income you may be eligible for lower costs on monthly premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs.
If you’re a “qualified non-citizen” within the state’s income eligibility rules, you may qualify for the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). (See a list of “qualified non-citizen” statuses).. When applying for Medicaid or CHIP coverage, beware of a 5-year waiting period. This means 5 years after receiving “qualified” immigration status you become eligible for Medicaid and CHIP coverage. (See a list of exceptions to the 5-year waiting period and other important details)
Immigrant families often fall under the category of “mixed statues”. This happens if family members are classified as having different immigration and/or citizenship statuses. Mixed status families can apply for a tax credit or lower out-of-pocket costs for private insurance. This is useful for dependent family members who are eligible for coverage under Medicaid and CHIP. Family members not applying for health insurance will not be asked their immigration status.
Medicaid and CHIP agencies cannot require you to give information about citizenship or immigration status. States cannot deny you benefits because a family member who is not applying hasn’t provided his or her citizenship or immigration status. Information you provide to the Marketplace won’t be used for immigration enforcement purposes.If you’re not eligible for Marketplace coverage, you can get low-cost health care at a nearby community health center. Community health centers offer primary health care services to all residents, including immigrant families.
Undocumented immigrants aren’t eligible for Marketplace health coverage, or for premium tax credits. But they may apply for coverage on behalf of documented individuals.