The policy for health insurance for Green Card holders in the US is similar to that of US citizens. Immigrants and citizens of the US have to purchase their health insurance through private companies because the US does not have a national healthcare system that covers all groups of people.
The existing public health care only covers limited groups of people, such as elders, children, or the disabled. As such, Green Card holders over the age of 65 are eligible to receive public insurance like Medicaid, but only after five years of permanent residency in the US.
Do Green Card Holders Need Health Insurance?
No, having health insurance for Green Card holders is not mandatory in the United States. However, it is highly recommended because the cost of healthcare in the US is very high. Just a consultation with a doctor can reach hundreds of dollars, whereas hospitalization can set you back thousands of dollars per night, without including the cost of the medical treatment itself.
We recommend Green Card holders and new immigrants in the United States purchase the GeoBlue Xplorer Premier plan.
Before January 2019, under the legislation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obama Care, all US citizens and immigrants had to get health insurance compliant with ACA, or they would have to pay a fine, alongside paying their medical expenses.
But as of January 1, 2019, the federal law does not require citizens and immigrants to have health insurance – instead, it is up to each state to decide whether or not they will request their residents to acquire medical insurance.
What are the Types of Health Insurance Plans Available for Green Card Holders?
As a Green Card holder, you can get health insurance through one of the following ways:
Group health insurance plans
Group health insurance plans for immigrants in the US are usually purchased by companies or organizations and offered to the employees of the company or the members of the organization. These types of health insurance plans are cheaper because they are purchased for a larger number of people and the head of the company/organization covers part or most of the expenses.
Group health insurance plans in the US can be extended to include the dependents (spouse and children) of the Green Card holder as well.
If you have elderly immigrant parents, you won’t be able to add them to your group health insurance. Instead, you will have to purchase adequate health insurance for green card holders over 65.
Also read: Health Insurance for Seniors Over 80 in USA
Individual health insurance plans
Individual health insurance plans are when you buy the plan yourself from a health insurance company, and your employer is not involved. For example, if the health insurance plan your employer has offered does not suit your needs, you can opt-out of it and purchase your own.
Green Card holders over the age of 65, who are not working and who do not qualify for public healthcare yet, will also have to get an individual healthcare plan.
Health Insurance for New Immigrants in the US
New immigrants in the US, such as the relatives or elderly parents of US residents or citizens can purchase health insurance plans under the new US healthcare marketplace – known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obama Care.
However, the type of health insurance plan you need depends on your residence status. For example, international student health insurance requirements depend largely on the school, while H1-B visa holders can get health insurance from their employers.