Can Green Card Holders Get Medicare?
A: Yes. Permanent resident status (also known as a green card) allows you to apply for all the same benefits as U.S. citizens. You can use your permanent resident card as proof that you are eligible for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Q: Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to get health coverage?
A: No. Everyone living in the United States is entitled to health care (it's a basic human right). You can get coverage through your employer, through a program like Medicaid (for low-income adults, children, pregnant women, and people with disabilities), or through the Health Insurance Marketplace or an Affordable Insurance Exchange.
Q: Can I get free health care in the United States?
A: Yes, but you may need to meet certain requirements. Federal law provides free and low-cost health care to low-income adults, children, pregnant women, and people with disabilities. If you meet these requirements you will be eligible for Medicaid. If you do not meet the requirements you may still be able to get Medicaid coverage if your state has expanded its Medicaid program.
For more information, see Healthcare.gov – Medicaid and CHIP.
Q: I'm an immigrant here on a work visa. Do I have to pay for my health care?
A: No. Everyone is entitled to basic health care in the United States.
Q: What if I want to stay in the United States after my visa expires?
A: You should apply for a green card through one of the family immigration categories:
Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (spouses, minor children, and parents)
Fiancés of U.S. citizens (you will have to marry your fiancé first)
Parents of U.S. citizens who are 21 years of age or older
Other family members (siblings, adult children, and their spouses and minor children)
Green card holders can apply for federal health benefits (Medicaid, Medicare, and CHIP) after they have been in the United States for five years.
Q: If I get a green card, can I get the Affordable Care Act health coverage?
A: Yes. All permanent residents (green card holders) are entitled to Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) health insurance.
Q: I have a green card and am thinking about getting married. Is my spouse eligible for federal health coverage?
A: Yes. Your spouse is eligible for federal health benefits if he or she is a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident with a green card. If your spouse is a U.S. citizen, you have to wait until you are a permanent resident before you can apply for health coverage.
Q: I'm on Medicaid, but I'm about to get a green card. What happens to my Medicaid coverage?
A: You should contact your state or local health insurance office to find out what to do and when. Every state is different. You may have to fill out paperwork to change your status.
Q: I'm a permanent resident. Do I have to pay a penalty for not getting health insurance?
A: Not if you are uninsured for no more than three months of the year. You can get an exemption for being uninsured for a short time. If you are uninsured for more than three months of the year and do not qualify for an exemption from the penalty, you will have to pay a penalty when you file your taxes. There is no penalty for being a permanent resident and being uninsured.
Q: I have a green card and I'm not a U.S. citizen. Am I eligible to apply for health coverage through the Marketplace?
A: No. You are only eligible for Marketplace health coverage if you are a U.S. citizen and are a permanent resident.
Q: My green card will expire in the next few months. Can I get health coverage anywhere before then?
A: If you will be eligible for Medicaid once your green card expires, you can sign up for Medicaid now. You can also sign up for Marketplace coverage and get tax credits to help you pay for your insurance. You can use your permanent resident card as proof that you are eligible for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Q: I have a green card but I don't speak English. Can I still enroll in health coverage through the Marketplace?
A: Yes, you can enroll in Marketplace health coverage with the help of an interpreter.
Q: Will I be able to get health insurance through the Marketplace if I'm a visitor to the United States?
A: No. If you are a visitor to the United States you can only get health insurance if you are a citizen or a permanent resident.
For more information, see Healthcare.gov – Visitors to the U.S.
Q: I'm a permanent resident and my child is a U.S. citizen. Can my child apply for health coverage through the Marketplace?
A: Yes. Undocumented children are eligible for Marketplace coverage.
For more information, see Healthcare.gov – Children and Families.
Q: I'm a permanent resident. I qualify for Medicaid. Can I get help paying for my Marketplace health insurance?
A: Yes. You may be able to get help with your Marketplace insurance costs if your income is between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level.
For more information, see Healthcare.gov – Help Paying for Coverage.