The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, gives most Americans access to affordable health insurance. It also supports innovative medical care delivery methods.
Millions of people have enrolled in Marketplace plans that provide lower costs and better coverage. ACA subsidies make these plans more affordable for millions of low-income Americans.
You must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident
Whether you are a citizen, a legal resident (green card holder), or a lawfully present immigrant, you can apply for health insurance through the obamacare exchanges. Premium subsidies are available for people with low incomes who can’t afford to pay full price for coverage.
The obamacare exchanges have special enrollment periods for people who are experiencing qualifying life events. These include becoming a citizen or lawfully present resident, having children born in the U.S., or losing a job that provides health benefits.
However, some immigrants haven’t been able to enroll in subsidized coverage because of the ACA’s public charge rule. This rule requires people who don’t have health insurance to prove they can’t afford a plan if they don’t get it through their employer or the obamacare exchange.
This rule has led to many immigrants deciding not to apply for obamacare, since they don’t want to be labeled a public charge. Some have also been forced to forgo coverage because they are concerned about their immigration status.
You must be a resident of the U.S.
Those who are lawfully present, or “green card” holders, may apply for healthcare coverage. They are considered eligible for subsidies and have the option to enroll in a qualified exchange plan, including an affordable employer-sponsored plan that meets minimum value requirements.
Green card holders who have been here for more than six months are generally allowed to travel abroad and return home indefinitely without worrying about a loss of their green card status. However, port-of-entry staff are likely to notice if you are spending longer than a year or two outside of the U.S.
The key to obtaining and maintaining your green card is keeping your residence in the United States. This can be a challenge for those who are not native English speakers or have a disability, so it’s important to seek expert help. The good news is that many green card holders have made it a point to stay in the United States for their entire tenure with the green card.
You must be a resident of a state that has an exchange
State-based health insurance exchanges are websites that offer standardized information on a variety of insurance plans and provide the opportunity to compare them side-by-side. They also offer tax credits for lower income people to help them pay the cost of premiums.
Using these sites, you can buy a health insurance plan that meets the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. These ACA-compliant plans must cover the essential health benefits required by the law and feature standardized features.
The exchanges are designed to promote transparency, competition, and efficiency. They also have to meet a number of federal standards, including certifying that health plans are qualified to participate and coordinating with appropriate state and federal agencies.
Some states, such as California, have implemented requirements to reduce adverse selection in their exchange-like purchasing pools. These include requiring that all plans offer the same levels of benefits, limiting subsidized coverage to the exchange market, and pooling risk across the exchange and outside market.
You must be eligible for Medicaid
If you are a low-income American, you may qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. These programs are jointly funded by the federal and state governments.
Eligibility requirements vary by state. But most states cover low-income families, pregnant women, and people with disabilities.
Many states also offer other types of coverage, such as the Child Health Plus (CHP) program. These programs are designed to provide medical services for children and young adults.
Those who qualify for CHIP can choose from a variety of plans that are usually less expensive than other healthcare options. These plans often include benefits like dental care, vision care, and hearing services.
Several states offer Medicaid to people with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, thanks to the ACA. These expanded income limits have helped millions of Americans receive coverage for the first time. In addition, some states have offered cost-sharing reductions to lower out-of-pocket costs for individuals and families with limited incomes.