Medicare for Green Card Holders in the US

Medicare for Green Card Holders in the US

Navigating healthcare options as a green card holder in the United States can be intimidating. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and believe that there are no options for you to be able to face the expensive costs of medical care in the United States.

What Is Medicare?

Medicare is a federal health insurance program primarily designed for individuals aged 65 and older, as well as certain younger individuals with disabilities. It helps cover various healthcare services, including hospital stays, medical visits, and prescription drugs.

Learn more about Medicare in the U.S.

Can Green Holders Get Medicare?

Green card holders can get Medicare, but there are specific conditions to meet. Depending on a number of factors including your age and work history, green card holders in the U.S. may qualify for Medicare. In this guide, we will provide clarity on the process of accessing Medicare for green card holders and discuss the important aspects of enrollment, eligibility, and coverage.

Additionally, we'll dive into the importance of travel insurance for green card holders and how it can serve as a valuable safety net during the transition period before Medicare coverage begins.

Are Green Card Holders Eligible for Medicare?

Green card holders are generally eligible for Medicare once they meet certain residency requirementsnot citizenship status. Medicare eligibility for green card holders is primarily based on age and legal residency status in the United States.

To qualify for Medicare, green card holders must meet the following criteria:

1. Legal Residency

You must be a lawful permanent resident of the United States for at least five continuous years. This means holding a green card for at least five years before applying for Medicare benefits.

2. Age

Generally, individuals become eligible for Medicare at age 65. However, if you have a disability or certain medical conditions, you may qualify for Medicare before age 65.

There are possibilities for other situations in which you may qualify for Medicare with your Green Card. You can visit the U.S. Medicare department online at or call 1800.MEDICARE (1800.633.4227). Discuss your situation and specialists can help you find the options available for you.

When Can a Green Card Holder Apply for Medicare?

Once green card holders meet the residency requirement, they can apply for Medicare during specific enrollment periods:

Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

This period begins three months before your 65th birthday, includes your birthday month, and extends for three months afterward.

General Enrollment Period (GEP)

If you miss your IEP, you can enroll during the GEP, which runs from January 1 to March 31 each year. However, late enrollment may result in higher premiums.

How to Apply for Medicare for Green Card Holders

Applying for Medicare involves completing an application through the Social Security Administration (SSA). Here's how to get started:

Step 1: Gather Documentation

Collect documents proving your green card status and residency history.

Step 2: Complete Application

Apply online, by phone, or in person at your local SSA office.

Step 3: Provide Information

Be prepared to provide personal and immigration-related information during the application process.

Medicare Benefits for Green Card Holders

Once enrolled in Medicare, green card holders have access to a range of healthcare benefits, including:

  • Hospital Insurance: Coverage for inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and some home healthcare services.
  • Medical Insurance: Coverage for doctor's visits, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.
  • Prescription Drug Coverage: Coverage for prescription medications through private insurance plans.
  • Medicare Advantage: An alternative to Original Medicare that includes hospital insurance, medical insurance, and sometimes prescription drug coverage, offered by private insurance companies.

Why Green Card Holders May Need Travel Insurance

If you are not eligible for Medicare, are between jobs, or are waiting for your green card to be approved, you may need travel medical insurance.

This short-term medical coverage can be important for protecting you from unexpected medical expenses. In the event of a medical emergency in America, travel medical insurance can cover expenses such as hospitalization, doctor visits, and emergency medical evacuation.

Get Health Insurance for Green Card Holders

Having health insurance coverage is important for protecting green card holders from unexpected medical expenses while waiting for Medicare coverage to begin. While it calls for an additional cost, opting for travel medical insurance can offer peace of mind and financial protection while you wait for Medicare coverage.

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