Upon receiving their green card, many new immigrants make the risky mistake of moving to the U.S. without buying health insurance. New immigrants in the process of getting a green card are not covered once they arrive in the U.S., and U.S. healthcare is not free. Therefore, new immigrants should have a temporary health insurance plan during their transition to protect themselves against any unforeseen medical emergencies.
Short-term health insurance provides medical coverage for residents and new immigrants for temporary purposes. It’s available for any U.S. resident below the age of 65, including but not limited to those who recently got their green cards and people with H-1, L-1, F-1, and J-1 visa status.
New immigrants may not be able to get health insurance upon arriving in the U.S. for a number of reasons, including but not limited to:
- Waiting on employment
- Waiting on Medicare
- Waiting to receive social security number
- Arrived in U.S. after open enrollment period for healthcare ends
All of these situations are usually limited to a brief period of time, which is why many new immigrants choose to go uninsured. What they don’t realize is how much of a financial risk it is to not have health insurance in the U.S.
Many new immigrants are not aware of the cost of medical care in the U.S. until they experience it firsthand. Without health insurance, a simple visit to the doctor can cost a few hundred dollars, and a more serious medical emergency can cost up to thousands of dollars.
How Does Short-Term Medical Insurance Help New Immigrants?
Short Term medical insurance is designed to protect against unforeseen illnesses, injuries, medical emergencies, and other incidents. These medical insurance plans for new immigrants may typically offer the following healthcare benefits:
- Surgery treatment
- Ambulance and hospital room expenses
- Urgent care visits
- Dental coverage
- AD&D insurance
- Emergency medical evacuation coverage
- Acute onset of pre-existing condition coverage up to a limit
- Return of mortal remains
Pre-existing conditions, maternity care, and preventative care such as annual medical exams, immunizations, and checkups may not be covered by short-term health insurance. Such treatments should be completed before leaving your home country.
Can I Purchase Short-Term Health Insurance after Arriving in the US?
Yes, you can purchase short-term health insurance after you arrive. However, you may want to purchase temporary health insurance applicable for immigrants to cover you during the time between arriving in the U.S. and purchasing short-term medical insurance.
If anything happens to you during that small window in which you don’t have insurance, you risk paying huge medical bills out of pocket. Aircraft complications, car accidents, or simple injuries and illnesses could occur immediately after arriving in the U.S., putting you in need of medical attention.
Even though you can buy short-term medical insurance after arriving in the U.S., the coverage may not start immediately. There’s usually a time period between the purchase date and coverage effective date.
To explore your insurance options, read about short term health insurance plans.
Those who aren’t eligible for short term health insurance may consider purchasing health insurance for immigrants.