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.
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.
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.
Health Insurance Options for Green Card Holders Over 65
If you want to purchase health insurance in the US and you are over the age of 65, there are two options, depending on your residency status and the time you’ve spent in the US:
- Purchasing private health insurance
- Applying for Medicaid
Private Health Insurance for Green Card Holders Over 65
Green Card holders over the age of 65 who only recently moved to the US will have to purchase health insurance from a private company. Immigrants in the US only become eligible for Medicaid or a public healthcare provider after having lived in the US as a permanent resident for five continuous years. If you are only visiting the United States, you should look for travel insurance for visitors over 65 years of age.
Here are the best Green Card health insurance plans for visiting parents over the age of 65:
Insubuy offers the chance to compare between different plans and choose the most affordable one.
Medicaid for Green Card Holders Over the Age of 65
Medicare is a national health insurance program in the US that provides health insurance for US citizens or residents over the age of 65. As a Green Card holder, you are eligible for Medicaid if:
- You are over the age of 65 and
- You have been living in the US continuously for at least five years; or
- You or your spouse have paid Medicare taxes (ie. worked in the US) for at least 10 years
If you have not fulfilled one of the last two conditions, you will not qualify for Medicaid or any other type of healthcare plan, even if your income is below the poverty line.
Can I Get Health Insurance While Waiting for My Green Card?
If you are living in the US while waiting for your Green Card application to be processed, then technically, you are still under visitor status. As such, you have to get visitor health insurance until your Green Card is issued.
After you receive your Green Card, you have to get adequate health insurance for immigrants or permanent residents living in the US.
How Much Does Health Insurance for Green Card Holders Cost?
The prices of medical insurance for Green Card holders and citizens of the US depend on three main factors:
- The prices for health insurance plans in the US increase with the person’s age. So, if you are purchasing medical insurance for your elderly parents who have recently joined you in the US with a Green Card, the price is likely to be higher than it would if you were applying for yourself.
- Medical insurance plans in the US are priced differently, depending on the state or county of residence.
- Medical insurance plans cost depends on the level of coverage you want to purchase as well as the period of coverage.
Best Health Insurance Plans for Green Card Holders
Here are the best four health insurance plans for Green Card holders in the USA: