Obamacare and Green Card Holders

Obamacare and Green Card Holders

obamacare for green card holders

As a green card holder visiting the US, you may qualify for ACA-compliant health insurance as a supplement until you can apply for domestic coverage.

Lawfully present immigrants can enroll in healthcare through the Marketplace and receive tax credits. Additionally, they may qualify for Medicaid or CHIP coverage if they meet their state’s income and residency criteria.

Getting Coverage

If you are a green card holder living in the United States, you are eligible for healthcare coverage under Obamacare. You may have access to government or private companies that provide subsidized health plans for people with low incomes.

There are exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you missed the enrollment period for domestic health insurance but still wish to be covered, then a visitor insurance plan that meets Affordable Care Act requirements can be chosen until your enrollment in domestic health insurance becomes eligible.

These visitor plans can be an ideal option for green card holders traveling back and forth between the US and their home countries, or those waiting to receive their green cards. These plans provide essential healthcare benefits like hospitalization fees, medical evacuation/repatriation fees, prescriptions/drugs, COVID-19 services, doctor’s visits and more during this time period.


Medicare is a government program designed to assist people 65 or older with health care expenses and prescription drugs. To access it, individuals must hold permanent residency status such as a green card and meet income criteria.

However, it’s essential to note that not all green card holders qualify for Medicare right away. Most must wait five years after obtaining their green card before being eligible to enroll.

There is a five-year waiting period for Medicaid and CHIP coverage that can be waived for refugees, asylees, LPRs who used to be refugees or asylees, and other immigrants considered lawfully present in the U.S., although this waiting period cannot be waived for anyone other than refugees and asylees who meet certain criteria.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) broadened the definition of “lawfully present” to include more people. This includes international students, H-1-B visa holders, and other noncitizens with permanent residency status and permission to live in the U.S. Those individuals who acquire lawfully present immigration status can enroll in health insurance plans that comply with ACA standards from either federal or state exchanges.


If you reside in a state that offers Medicaid under Obamacare, then applying for it through your state’s agency is easy. This option has proven popular with green card holders since it provides free health insurance to low-income individuals and children.

In many cases, you may also qualify for a subsidy to help cover your plan costs. Doing so can save you a considerable amount on premiums and copayments.

Additionally, it helps avoid having to pay for high deductibles – which can be burdensome for those with limited financial resources.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) also encourages states to expand Medicaid, a government program that covers low-income individuals and children. Since 2012, nearly half of states have implemented Medicaid expansions into their existing programs.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers cost-sharing subsidies to reduce out-of-pocket medical expenses such as deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. Unfortunately, many Republican-led states have chosen not to expand Medicaid under Obamacare – leaving millions of Americans uninsured.

Short-Term Health Insurance

As either a Green Card Holder or Permanent Resident, having medical insurance is an essential consideration. This could apply if you’re waiting for employer-sponsored health insurance to begin, experiencing an extended period without access to healthcare coverage, or traveling between home country and the US for a brief time.

If this applies to you, a short-term health policy can provide coverage while you wait for your employment-based or other insurance coverage to start. Coverage typically lasts up to 180 days and is pre-paid.

Green Card Holders and Permanent Residents generally qualify for ACA-compliant health coverage through their employer, the exchange, Medicaid or Medicare. However, seniors 65 years or older who are not enrolled in Medicare can still purchase private plans on the individual market if they have not lived in America for five years or more.

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About the Author: Raymond Donovan