Everyone in America deserves to have access to affordable health care, including those who have emigrated from other countries. If you or a family member has recently become a permanent resident of the United States, you may be eligible for health care through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Obamacare defines different types of immigrants that qualify to buy coverage through the US health care marketplace. The term lawful immigrant is used to identify individuals who have green cards, which includes permanent residents. These individuals qualify for health insurance under Obamacare.
Lawful immigrants are individuals that reside in America, but aren’t citizens. They hold a legally recognized immigrant status that qualifies them for coverage as an individual or through an employer. An immigrant is defined as a person who moves to another country to live. So immigrants are not considered tourists or visitors. Visitors aren’t eligible for health care coverage through Affordable Care Act.
Obamacare and Permanent Residents
A green card holder is an immigrant who is a permanent resident. This qualifies them for affordable health insurance through either the state or federal health care marketplace. The health care exchange program is also available in their state of residence. There are several factors that determine the eligibility and cost of coverage, which include income, age, number of dependents, and the state where you live.
A permanent resident’s application can’t be denied because of a pre-existing medical condition or conditions they currently have. Medical conditions that are pre-existing are now included in the coverage and will be treated like any other health problem.
Penalties for Non-Enrollment for Permanent Residents
The Affordable Care Act has made it easier for American citizens and residents to gain access to affordable health care, but this comes at a price. If you don’t obtain health coverage before the deadline each year, you risk being penalized. This goes for both citizens and permanent residents. A fine will have to be paid if you don’t have coverage.
The fine won’t apply to you, however, if you spend more than 330 days annually outside the U.S. in a given year. Back in 2015, the penalty fee was $325 per adult or two percent of your income. Each year, this penalty rises.
It’s best to start looking for coverage as soon as possible, so you don’t end up having to pay a fine, along with whatever medical costs you obtain over that year. If you’re currently a permanent resident and you work and pay taxes in America, then you’re required by law to have health insurance whether you live in America long-term or visit for a couple of months each year.
You may also qualify for government assistance depending on your financial circumstances. Medicare and Medicaid are options for unemployed and underemployed individuals. You should check HealthCare.gov to find your state’s health care exchange website and eligibility requirements for these assistance programs. You can also talk to a health insurance agent in your locale that can point you in the right direction for obtaining an affordable health insurance policy as a permanent resident of the U.S.
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