Under Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA), every American citizen is required to obtain health insurance that meets standards for minimum coverage. To ensure that every citizen has access to affordable options, the healthcare marketplace (including state exchanges) was established, allowing Americans to enroll and receive options for plans that would meet both their healthcare insurance needs and their budget. What if you’re not a natural citizen, though? Are you eligible to apply for Obamacare and receive affordable health insurance? The answer may vary by case, but Obamacare does provide for several types of non-native residents to obtain health insurance. If you have permanent resident status, or a green card, you may qualify to apply.
The ACA states that U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and lawfully present immigrants may all take advantage of Obamacare by applying for health insurance coverage through the healthcare marketplace (via state exchanges). The only residents not eligible to apply are those who are currently incarcerated and undocumented immigrants. If you have a green card, you fall into the category of those who may apply for Obamacare as you are a lawfully present immigrant to the United States. The downside is that you actually have to obtain health insurance that meets mandatory minimum coverage standards or face the same penalties as every other citizen for failing to comply with the law. So how do you go about applying when you don’t have all of your documentation?
As it turns out, you have proper documentation so long as you have a green card. When you apply for Obamacare, you’ll see that you have to provide approved identification. With your green card you should be able to obtain a social security number and a driver’s license, both of which can be used to prove your status as a legal, permanent resident in the United States. If you have yet to gather these documents, however, you should be able to use your green card and perhaps a passport with valid stamps to prove your status.
Now to the good news: you will enjoy the same benefits and options as other Americans when it comes to obtaining healthcare insurance. If you would like to apply for private insurance instead of Obamacare, you have every right to do so, although you will risk paying more by going this route and you’ll have to make sure that you meet the mandatory minimum standards for coverage if you want to avoid penalties. However, if you qualify for low-income status, you may be eligible for different types of cost assistance when it comes to paying for your health insurance.
Such subsidies could include premium tax credits (to help with the cost of insurance premiums), cost sharing reduction subsidies (to help with the cost of co-pays, coinsurance, and deductibles), and Medicaid and/or CHIP benefits and services. If you are a legally present resident alien with a green card to prove your status, you will be required to meet minimum standards for health insurance, but you’ll also benefit from being able to enroll in Obamacare and access affordable options, potentially including cost assistance.
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