ACA (Obamacare) For Green Card Holders

ACA (Obamacare) For Green Card Holders

As long as you’re not a US citizen or permanent resident, Obamacare coverage won’t apply to you on the healthcare marketplace; however, new immigrants may purchase short term health coverage to cover their medical costs until becoming eligible.

Short term travel insurance plans could also be considered.

Visitor Insurance Plans

Many green card holders who do not work in the US on visa have difficulty finding affordable health insurance plans, however there are private companies that provide individual plans that tend to be cheaper than group coverage plans.

Visitor insurance plans are designed to cover medical expenses and hospitalization charges while Green Card Holders wait for their legal permanent resident status approval. You can buy these plans online and they provide benefits such as Maternity care, COVID-19 coverage, doctor visits and urgent care services.

Green card holders who frequently travel between their home country and the US to help family or attend school may benefit from having this coverage, which also acts as a bridge until they meet Medicare or Obamacare eligibility criteria – typically, green card holders aged 65+ may qualify if they meet its minimum requirements.


Green card holders aged 65 or over who meet certain eligibility requirements can enroll in Medicare, the government-funded health insurance program for people on a fixed income and with certain medical needs. Medicare covers hospital and medical coverage as well as prescription drug coverage through its Parts A and B; alternatively they may purchase private healthcare plans from companies and organizations which typically cost less than individual plans; some states also offer Full-Scope Medicaid plans to lawfully present residents (LPRs).

But in order to qualify for Medicare premium-free, an individual must first have been living as a green card holder and working legally as a resident for at least 10 years (this requirement also applies for Social Security retirement benefits). LPRs can also purchase basic visitors or travel insurance plans that cover medical emergencies until they become eligible for Medicare – these policies won’t reduce their chances of naturalization as US citizens.


Newly arrived green card holders need an effective healthcare plan until they can enroll in domestic healthcare coverage. Luckily, the US healthcare marketplace – also known as Affordable Care Act or Obamacare – provides many options to accommodate them.

New legal immigrants can typically purchase Affordable Care Act insurance on the market and receive financial assistance via the marketplace depending on their income level, but federal law mandates they maintain at least some minimum coverage or face a tax time penalty payment penalty.

Legal immigrants generally aren’t eligible for Medicare; however, some states are using federal funds to offer Full-Scope Medicaid plans to permanent residents who become legal immigrants. Other states use state funding to provide private, subsidized Marketplace plans to certain groups of newcomers like children and pregnant women; some are using their own funds for undocumented immigrants, though this practice is rare; otherwise they must obtain coverage through student or employer plans or purchasing an individual policy outside the marketplace.

Individual Health Insurance Plans

Once you become a green card holder, you are eligible to purchase Obamacare plans in the marketplace. Your Green Card serves as evidence that you are lawfully permanent resident in the US and therefore eligible for Obamacare plans. Medicare enrollment typically doesn’t become possible until five years have passed after being in possession of your Green Card as well as being over 65.

Individual health insurance plans for green card holders can be easily located through the marketplace or private insurers. Plans purchased during open enrollment tend to be quite cost-effective if you’re an older adult commuting between their home country and the US, particularly for senior over 65 travelers who frequently switch back and forth between. You may even consider short-term policies which provide coverage during your visit that help avoid paying expensive tax penalties for going without coverage.

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About the Author: Raymond Donovan