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Tag: immigrant

Where can immigrants get health care or health coverage when they cannot enroll in Medicaid or CHIP or get coverage through the Marketplaces?

Hospitals are required to provide emergency care and treatment to all individuals regardless of immigration or insurance status, though afterwards they can bill for their services. In addition, individuals may get low-cost care at community health centers.

Individuals may purchase health coverage through an employer or a spouse’s employer or the individual insurance market outside of the Marketplace. Some states and counties also offer health programs for immigrants.

Are individuals granted deferred action under “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” eligible for Medicaid, CHIP, and the Health Insurance Marketplaces?

Some undocumented youth have been given temporary permission to stay in the United States under a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. These individuals are lawfully present in the United States and can be granted work authorization and Social Security numbers. However, they are not eligible for Medicaid, CHIP, or the Marketplaces.

Who is a lawfully present immigrant for health insurance purposes?

Lawfully present immigrants generally include:

  • lawful permanent residents (or “green card holders”);
  • persons fleeing persecution, including refugees and asylees;
  • other humanitarian immigrants, including those granted temporary protected status;
  • Cuban/Haitian entrants; and
  • survivors of domestic violence, trafficking, and other serious crimes.

Are immigrants required to have health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate?

Most immigrants who are residents lawfully present in the U.S., including “green card holders,” are subject to the ACA’s individual mandate.

However, for 2018, people who lack coverage during the year can claim an exemption from the tax penalty directly on their tax return if they experienced circumstances that prevented them from obtaining coverage.  No documentation of the hardship is required to be submitted with the tax return, though taxpayers should retain all documentation for their files.

Starting in 2019, there will be no tax penalty for failing to have health insurance coverage.

Immigrants who are not lawfully present in the U.S. will not pay a tax penalty if they do not have health insurance.

Will getting health insurance through Medicaid, CHIP, or Health Insurance Marketplaces affect an individual’s ability to obtain lawful permanent resident status or citizenship?

Currently, getting health insurance through Medicaid, CHIP, or the Marketplaces generally will not prevent an individual from obtaining lawful permanent resident status (get a green card) or citizenship.  One exception would be if an individual is receiving long-term care in an institution that is financed by Medicaid.

The rules may change for people seeking a green card in the future, but those changes are not yet final.  If you are living in the U.S. and applying for a green card here, you can still get health insurance through Medicaid, CHIP, or a Health Insurance Marketplace without affecting your application.  Get help deciding what is best for your family and consult with an immigration attorney if you can.  You can use this online directory to search for local nonprofit organizations that provide legal help and advice:

Can immigrants get help paying premiums and/or cost-sharing for health insurance in the Marketplaces?

Lawfully present immigrants can get tax credits to help pay premiums and cost-sharing for health insurance through the Marketplaces. Like citizens, they can get tax credits to help pay premiums if they make between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level. They can also qualify for cost sharing reductions if they make between 100% and 250% of the federal poverty level.  To get this help, they cannot be offered affordable health insurance through their job or be eligible for Medicaid.

Lawfully-present immigrants who make less than 100% of the federal poverty level  also can get help paying premiums and cost sharing if they cannot enroll in Medicaid due to immigration status. Many lawfully-present immigrants cannot enroll in Medicaid until they have been in the United States for five or more years.

Undocumented immigrants cannot receive help paying for premiums or cost sharing for Marketplace coverage and may not buy health insurance through the Marketplaces even at full cost.