If you live in the United States, you have probably been hearing a lot about healthcare recently. Specifically, you may have heard about the “Affordable Care Act”, also known as “Obamacare”, and the government-run healthcare website www.healthcare.gov, also known as “Marketplace”. As an immigrant, you can qualify for healthcare coverage under Obamacare.

In order to buy private health insurance through the Marketplace, you must be a U.S. citizen; if you are not a U.S. Citizen, you must be lawfully present in the United States. Here is the list of eligible immigration statuses for health coverage through the Marketplace:

  • Lawful permanent resident (LPR/Green Card holder)
  • Asylee
  • Refugee
  • Cuban/Haitian entrant
  • Paroled into the U.S.
  • Conditional entrant granted before 1980
  • Battered spouse, child, or parent
  • Victim of trafficking and his or her spouse, child, sibling, or parent
  • Granted Withholding of Deportation or Withholding of Removal, under the immigration laws or under the Convention against Torture (CAT)
  • Individual with non-immigrant status (including worker visas, student visas, and citizens of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau)
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
  • Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)
  • Deferred Action Status (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) isn’t an eligible immigration status for applying for health coverage.)

Applicant for:

  • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
  • Adjustment to LPR Status with an approved visa petition
  • Victim of trafficking visa
  • Asylum who has either been granted employment authorization, OR is under 14 and has had an application for asylum pending for at least 180 days.)
  • Withholding of Deportation or Withholding of Removal, under the immigration laws or under the Convention against Torture (CAT) who has either been granted employment authorization, OR is under 14 and has had an application for withholding of deportation or withholding removal under the immigration laws or under the CAT pending for at least 180 days.)

Certain individuals with employment authorization document:

  • Registry applicants
  • Order of supervision
  • Applicant for Cancellation of Removal or Suspension of Deportation
  • Applicant for Legalization under IRCA
  • Applicant for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
  • Legalization under the LIFE Act
  • Lawful temporary resident
  • Granted an administrative stay of removal by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  • Member of a federally recognized Indian tribe or American Indian born in Canada
  • Resident of American Samoa

You will need to present documents to show your immigration status when you apply for healthcare coverage. For a list of such documents, please see https://www.healthcare.gov/help/immigration-document-types/.

Open Enrollment for 2014 coverage ends March 31, 2014. If you have not enrolled in coverage by then, you generally cannot enroll in 2014 Marketplace coverage. The exception is if you have a qualifying life event (such as marriage, divorce, birth or adoption of a child, or loss of a job) that provides you with a special enrollment period. If you own or operate a small business, you can start offering coverage to your employees at any time.

The next Open Enrollment period is starts on November 15, 2014 for health insurance coverage that begins January 1, 2015.

Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for federal public benefits through the Affordable Care Act. For example, undocumented immigrants cannot buy coverage through the Marketplace. Premium tax credits are not available for undocumented immigrants.

Undocumented immigrants may continue to buy coverage on their own outside the Marketplace and can get limited services for an emergency medical condition through Medicaid, if they are otherwise eligible for Medicaid in the state.

For more information about healthcare coverage, please visit www.healthcare.gov.

Attorneys at I.S. Law Firm have helped many immigrants to come to the United States, or avoid deportation and legalize their status in the United States. To explore your immigration options, please contact us at +1-703-527-1779 or by e-mail: [email protected].