Getting health insurance for Green Card holders

Eligibility for travel insurance plans varies and it is important to understand which plans may provide coverage in different situations.

It’s Chiranth Nataraj

Looking for health insurance for Green Card holders? If yes, you have come to the right place. The health insurance for Green Card holders it is no different from the policies of US citizens or residents. However, US residents who are immigrants (Green Card holders) are eligible for coverage through Obamacare.

The term ‘legal immigrant’ includes:

  • Eligible non-citizens can immigrate without a waiting period
  • Persons with valid non-immigrant visas
  • People with Humanitarian status
  • People who are responsible for other laws

READ: What are the benefits of choosing a travel insurance plan with PPO Network? (January 26, 2022)

How do Green Card holders get health insurance?

As a Green Card holder you may be in one of the following four categories:

  1. You are living in the US permanently
  2. You have a Green Card but you live outside the US
  3. You came to the US on a foreign visa and your Green Cards are pending
  4. You travel between your countries and the US

Eligibility for Green Card holders who are permanent US citizens

If you have a Green Card, you are considered a permanent resident of the US. In this case, you can apply Obamacare. To sign up for a home plan through the Marketplace, you must be a US citizen or legally present.

Now, if you are over the age of 65, you can apply for the Medicare program only after 5 years of having a Green Card. The US federal and state Medicaid program can help you with premiums if you qualify and fall into the low-income category. You must be a US citizen to get Medicaid. If you are over 65 and have not lived in the US for 5 years after getting your Green Card, you can apply for Obamacare.

RELATED: Things to keep in mind when buying US travel insurance (June 4, 2022)

Green Card holders who missed the application deadline (usually beginning on November 1St every year and is open until January 15Th each year) or while waiting for employee benefits may choose to receive temporary assistance from insurance companies.

Eligibility for Green Card holders who live outside the US

If you have a Green Card, live outside the US, and plan to visit the country for short trips, you may want to consider travel insurance. Tourist insurance plans provide temporary coverage while you are in the US for a short period of time. For example, you can plan to stay in the US for six months and then return to your home country.

In such cases, travel insurance plans that provide coverage outside the country of residence or plans for repatriation may be a good choice. Eligibility for travel insurance plans varies and it is important to understand which plans may provide coverage for such situations.

READ: What does Visitor Insurance cover? (November 8, 2021)

You can find a variety of affordable plans based on your travel and medical needs. Make sure you buy adequate insurance, including medical expenses, return and transfer, and other travel-related benefits.

Importance of Green Card applicants and newcomers

If you came to the US and applied for a Green Card and your Green Card status is pending, you are considered an alien in the US. In such a case, you can buy insurance policy plans that will give you a waiting period. The plan should be adequate to cover medical expenses, hospitalization fees, hospital transfers, reimbursements, etc.

Once you get your Green Card, you can apply for home health plans from the insurance market.

People who are not US citizens or residents are not required to purchase health insurance through the insurance marketplace, Obamacare. However, they can choose foreigner insurance plans from the same insurance companies as people coming to the US as a foreigner.

READ: Why travel health insurance is recommended for travel to the USA? (August 7, 2021)

Do Green Card holders need insurance?

No, it is not mandatory for Green Card holders to purchase health insurance plans, but they are strongly encouraged because the cost of medicine in the US is so high. A doctor’s visit can cost you hundreds of dollars, while medical tests, surgeries, or hospital stays can cost you more and can often be in the thousands of dollars.

Buying insurance is up to the individual and the financial risk they want to take. You don’t have to buy an insurance plan if you want to pay out of pocket.

Obamacare or guest plans?

It depends on where you are in the US and where you live. Simply put, if you are a legal permanent resident or a new immigrant on a Green Card, you are eligible for Obamacare. You have the option of purchasing an Obamacare or guest plan (depending on the plan’s eligibility).

The amount of coverage, however, varies depending on what you choose. Preventive care, pre-existing conditions and reproductive health are often excluded from visitor plans when they are included in Obamacare plans.

(Chiranth Nataraj is the founder of Visitor Guard. He has over twenty years of experience in developing insurance and technology solutions.)