How do new immigrants get health insurance in the US? 

How do new immigrants get health insurance in the US?

Immigrants coming to the US either obtain legal permanent residence or have pending green card status. LPRs, also known as green card holders, are immigrants who are granted legal residency in the US but have not become US citizens. They get access to healthcare benefits like US residents and citizens. Immigrants with pending green card status are considered visitors and are not eligible for the country’s healthcare benefits yet. 

Immigrants with LPR status 

LPR (legal permanent residents) get access to the US’s healthcare system. They can apply for Obamacare, Medicaid, Medicare, and CHIP only if they meet the requirements. Each health insurance program has different eligibility criteria that need to be checked before enrolling. New immigrants on a green card above the age of 65 years are not eligible for Medicare until and unless they stay in the US for at least five years and above. They can consider Obamacare plans. 

Who can qualify for Obamacare? 

US citizens, US residents, and lawfully present immigrants are the only eligible individuals to purchase health insurance under Obamacare. However, people with the following immigration statuses can also qualify: 

  • Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR/Green Card holder)  
  • Asylee 
  • Refugee 
  • Cuban/Haitian Entrant 
  • Paroled into the US 
  • Conditional Entrant Granted before 1980 
  • Battered Spouse, Child, and Parent 
  • Victim of Trafficking and his/her Spouse, Child, Sibling, or Parent 
  • Granted Withholding of Deportation or Withholding of Removal, under the immigration laws or the Convention against Torture (CAT) 
  • An individual with Non-immigrant Status includes worker visas (such as H1, H-2A, H-2B), student visas, U-visa, T-visa, and other visas, and citizens of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau. 
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS)  
  • Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) 
  • Deferred Action Status (Exception: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is not an eligible immigration status for applying for health insurance) 
  • Lawful Temporary Resident 
  • An administrative order staying removal was issued by the Department of Homeland Security 
  • Member of a federally recognized Indian tribe or American Indian Born in Canada 
  • A resident of American Samoa 

Immigrants with pending green card status 

Immigrants with pending green card status are visitors because they have not attained legal permanent resident status yet. Therefore, they do not become eligible to enroll in federal and state programs. They do not become eligible for Obamacare, Medicaid, Medicare, and CHIP. In this situation, they can purchase visitor insurance plans or immigrant plans from a reliable US insurance company. 

A robust, comprehensive visitor insurance plan can cover them temporarily while they wait to get their green card status. After they receive their green card status, new immigrants can apply for domestic plans through Immigrants can enroll in plans offered through the exchange and can receive premium subsidies if their income makes them eligible. 

Essential tips for immigrants and health insurance coverage  

  • Open enrollment typically starts from Nov 1st every year. If this open enrollment window  has passed, immigrants may still be able to get coverage only if they qualify for the Special Enrollment Period.  
  • Immigrants who are eligible, can enroll for Medicaid/CHIP any time of the year because there is no enrollment period. These programs provide free or low-cost health coverage to Americans, especially low-income people, pregnant women, children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities.  
  • Immigrants should not forget to pay monthly premiums directly to the insurance companies when purchasing plans from The coverage does not start until the premium is paid.  
  • Immigrants who have submitted paperwork and are waiting on green cards should purchase visitor or immigrant health insurance plans from private insurance companies. These health coverage plans can cover them during their waiting period. 
  • Not all immigrant plans cover green card holders, so it is essential to check eligibility. 

How can we help? 

If immigrants are not eligible for any domestic plans or state programs, they can choose immigrant insurance plans from us. has affordable medical insurance plans for new immigrants and visitors still waiting for their immigrant status in the US. Individuals get coverage for eligible medical expenses, hospitalization bills, surgery, dental care, prescriptions, doctor visits, urgent care, emergency services, and more, depending on the selected policy. Plus, one can get quotes and compare the plans before purchasing. For more information, contact us now!