Obtaining a green card gives you the status of a lawful permanent resident in the US. This means you can access government facilities, especially medical care and treatment like the US residents and citizens. Before you proceed with buying a health plan, here are some tips for you.
Understand the US healthcare system.
The US healthcare system can be complex, so it is crucial to familiarize yourself with its key components. The healthcare system has government-sponsored plans and private insurance companies. Depending on your eligibility, you can buy plans from healthcare.gov or from private providers. The system includes various providers, such as hospitals, doctors, specialists, and pharmacies, which operate independently and charge for their services.
Explore your health insurance plan options.
Green Card holders are eligible to enroll in health insurance plans through various avenues, such as employer-sponsored plans, the Health Insurance Marketplace, or private insurance providers. It is important to be aware of enrollment periods, as there are specific windows of time when you can sign up for coverage. Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace typically occurs annually, but certain life events may qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period outside of the regular enrollment period.
Know about Medicare and Medicaid.
Medicaid and Medicare are two government-funded healthcare programs in the US.
- Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that aims to provide healthcare coverage for individuals and families with limited income and resources. Eligibility is primarily based on income and other factors such as family size, age, and disability status. Each state sets its own eligibility criteria and determines the specific benefits offered. The coverage extends to eligible individuals and families, including low-income adults, pregnant women, children, and people with disabilities.
- Medicare is a federal health insurance program primarily designed for individuals who are 65 years or older. Eligibility is based on age, disability status, or ESRD (End-Stage Renal Disease). It consists of different parts that provide specific types of coverage: Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and some home health services; Part B covers doctor visits, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services, Part C also known as Medicare Advantage is offered by private health insurance plans approved by Medicare and comprise of Part A and Part B benefits, and often include prescription drug coverage, and Part D offers prescription drug coverage through private health insurance plans.
Eligible individuals can choose to have either Medicaid or Medicare coverage, depending on their circumstances. Understanding the eligibility requirements is essential for green card holders seeking healthcare coverage in the US.
Consider employer-sponsored health insurance plans.
Green Card holders have the same rights and benefits as US citizens when it comes to employment. Therefore, you are eligible for employer-sponsored health insurance if your employer offers it to its employees. Employers typically contribute a portion of the premium cost for employee health insurance plans. The amount of employer contribution can vary depending on the employer and the specific plan. This contribution helps reduce the cost of health insurance for employees.
Most employer-sponsored health insurance plans also offer coverage for dependents, including spouses and children. You may be able to include your family members under your employer-sponsored plan, subject to the plan’s rules and any additional premium costs. Carefully review the details of each health insurance plan offered by your employer.
Buy health coverage through the Marketplace.
Health insurance plans available through the Marketplace (healthcare.gov) offer coverage to individuals and families who do not have access to employer-sponsored health insurance or government programs like Medicaid or Medicare. The Marketplace has an annual open enrollment period, during which you can sign up for a health insurance plan or make changes to your existing plan. The specific dates for open enrollment are the same every year. Thus, you must stay informed about the enrollment period to ensure you do not miss the opportunity to get coverage.
Familiarize with the insurance terms.
Understanding insurance terms is essential for making informed decisions. You will come across terms like premium, deductible, coinsurance, copay, policy maximum, PPO (Preferred Provider Organizations) network, and more. By familiarizing yourself with these insurance terms, you will have a better understanding of your coverage, the costs involved, and how to navigate the insurance system effectively. Always review your insurance policy documents and consult with your insurance provider for any doubts.
To know more about insurance plans for green card holders, feel free to contact NRIOL.net.