Healthcare For U.S. Green Card Holders, Permanent Residents

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) outlines eligibility requirements for immigrants to qualify for coverage under the new U.S. healthcare marketplace. Lawful immigrants to America (i.e. green card holders) may qualify for coverage and be subject to the rules defined in the ACA for U.S. residents.

A lawful permanent resident is any person who's not a citizen of the United States but residing in the U.S. under the legally-recognized status of immigrant. Immigrants qualify for healthcare through the healthcare insurance marketplace or their employer under the ACA.

An immigrant is a person who comes to a country to live in that country. An immigrant is not a visitor. Visitors are tourists and don't qualify for healthcare coverage under the ACA.

Lawful Permanent Residents and Obamacare

A lawful permanent resident (a green card holder) may qualify for affordable health insurance from the federal or state marketplace, or through a healthcare exchange program in their resident state. The eligibility requirements, plan cost and other considerations depend on several variables including: age, income, state of residence, number of dependents, and geographical area.

The good news is that, currently, pre-existing medical conditions cant cause an applicant to be denied health coverage. Pre-existing medical conditions are now covered and treated as any other medical condition.

Penalties for Not Enrolling in Insurance for Green Card Holders

Effective January 1, 2019, Americans are no longer required by the federal government to have health insurance under the ACA. Instead, it's now up to each individual state to decide if its residents are required to have healthcare. While you'll no longer be penalized for failing to enroll, it's always best to have quality healthcare coverage for yourself and your family in the event of illness or injury.

If you're a lawful permanent resident (green card holder), and pay your taxes in the U.S., you may still be required to have qualified health insurance, irrespective of whether you live in the U.S. on a long-term basis or you just visit for a few months a year.

Under the ACA, you may qualify for government assistance, affordable rate or state or federal medical or Medicare for Green Card programs as well.

To learn more about your options or to locate your state's health care exchange online at You may also consult any qualified licensed health insurance agent in your state.

If you're a green card holder and looking for health insurance or have questions about how Obamacare affects green card holders, send us an email at

Keep in mind, determining your eligibility status can be confusing because there are many different variables, including the state of residence, age, number of years spent in the U.S., income level etc.

Here are some steps you can take to make the insurance coverage process easier.

1. Contact the Federal Health Department to find out if you qualify for health coverage under the ACA.

Depending on several factors, you may or may not qualify. For information on the new Affordable Care Act and eligibility, you can check out the website:

2. If youre not qualified at the federal level, check with your state :

Depending on where you live, you may qualify for a state health insurance program based on income and other criteria. Check with your state health Medicaid/MediCal department to see if you qualify.

3. Buy Private Insurance

If youre a foreign citizen or immigrant who doesnt qualify for government-supported healthcare or cant get private health insurance in the U.S., you may still be able to get short-term, temporary health insurance that provides protection as per the policy-specific terms. These plans are not subject to Affordable Care Act requirements and may be purchased by the green card holders.

To learn more and get quote online, visit Immigrants Insurance

Questions Related to Taxes and Penalties

For any tax-related questions, status or penalties, please consult a qualified tax professional or your attorney.

For questions related to your qualifying factors based on how many days in a given year =you lived in or out the United States, please contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You may find these links from IRS website helpful:

  • International Tax Payers
  • IRS Webpage Related to Affordable Care Act
  • For New Immigrants, Green Card Holders or US Permanent Residents who arent qualified or eligible for U.S. domestic insurance or Medicare, can buy temporary medical insurance providing medical coverage.

    Disclaimer: Information presented here is high level and for your convenience only, it may not be up to date and may not cover all aspects of the ACA. ACA law is not fully enacted, and definitions, eligibility etc. are subjective and may vary from state to state. You may contact a qualified licensed health insurance agent in your area to discuss your specific situations and options. You may also write to us at support[at]


    Information provided here is high level, provided for your convenience and information purpose only. Please review the Evidence of Coverage and Plan Contract (Policy) for a detailed description of Coverage Benefits, Limitations and Exclusions. Must read the Policy Brochure and Plan Details for complete and accurate details. Only the Terms and Conditions of Coverage Benefits listed in the policy are binding.