The key to health insurance for immigrants is their immigration status
Those who are in this country illegally will not be able to obtain health coverage except through a few state programs for pregnant women and children. Those who possess a green card, are refugees, as lees, valid visa holders, and another status as determined by ICE a division of the Department of Homeland Security many insurance options exist.
Immigrants who have legal status in the USA can buy health insurance
Immigrants who come to the USA may find health insurance a maze in which they fear becoming lost. Health insurance in the USA is offered by insurance companies through the Affordable Care Acts Marketplace. Through an employer for those who qualify and by state governments, there is even health insurance for elderly immigrant parents who don’t qualify for Medicare.
Affordable Care Act insurance options
The passage and signing of the ACA in 2010 and its continued success in providing access to affordable health care for Americans also includes provisions for health care options open to immigrants with legal status. Health insurance subsidies are even available to those whose income qualifies them for such assistance. The ACA Marketplace is the first choice for health insurance plans that provide all the basic coverages. Since the ACA was established health insurance for senior immigrants is available with ACA compliant policies for all ages and coverage that cannot be denied because of age or prior health conditions. Health insurance for elderly immigrant parents that don't qualify for Medicare is found on the ACA Marketplaces well. Medicare is also available to immigrants after a qualifying period of 5 years of continuous residency and upon qualifying payments.
Other health insurance options
Most immigrants with approved status are also eligible for state-run programs that can assist those whose financial situation qualifies them for assistance. Medicaid and Child Health Insurance Plans are two other options for which qualified immigrants may be eligible. The former program Medicaid is for adults below a certain income level and the latter for pregnant mothers and children up to age 19. Non-ACA compliant short-term health plans offer inexpensive but limited protection and high deductible plans can also be other options.
A quick health care terminology primer
Something with which many people struggle is the vocabulary of insurance and some of the terms that are used. The health industry has a vocabulary all its own and while this list of terms is not exhaustive it is a start.
Deductible: The amount you pay for services before the insurance coverage begins paying.
Co-insurance: Deductible is reached now co-insurance is the percentage of costs you will pay. In general, the policyholder will pay anywhere from 10-30% with the insurer covering from 90-70%.
Co-pay: A fixed amount that you pay when you receive a covered health care service.
Emergency room: An immediate treatment facility for conditions such as severe bleeding or chest pain.
Health maintenance organizations (HMOs): A network of providers and hospitals that provide services to its insured members but that also restrict access to providers not in the network.
Out-of-pocket maximum: The amount you will pay before the insurance provider covers 100%
Preferred provider organizations (PPOs): Organization or network of providers that are less restrictive but offers a higher copay percentage to in-network providers
Primary care physicians (PCPs): With HMO insurance, a primary care physician (PCP) must be within the network, they provide the first point of contact, and referrals if you need to see a different provider/specialist within the network.
Urgent care: Non-emergency situations that can’t wait for an appointment with your doctor, ideal for situations like fever, minor fracture, and allergies.
ConsumerCoverage is a personal insurance mega-site it is possible to gain access to both Marketplace/exchange health plans for immigrants and off-exchange health care options directly from insurers. Personal insurance of all types can be found there.