In these last days of Open Enrollment, immigrant families need to know affordable coverage options are available
Affordable coverage options are available in the Health Insurance Marketplace for eligible immigrant families. In fact, most people shopping for coverage on the Marketplace can find a plan with monthly premiums of $75 or less. But, act soon: January 31, 2016 is the final deadline for you to sign up at HealthCare.gov or CuidadodeSalud.gov for 2016 coverage. Don’t miss out on getting coverage for 2016 and risk owing a fee of $695 or more.
If you work with immigrant communities, we need your help to make sure people who are eligible for coverage understand that they should not be worried about applying for coverage if they have a family with mixed immigration status.
Here are 10 things immigrant families need to know about Marketplace coverage:
- To buy private health insurance through the Marketplace, you must be a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or be lawfully present in the United States. In addition, immigrants with certain other statuses are also eligible. See a list of immigration statuses that qualify for Marketplace coverage.
- If you recently gained U.S. citizenship or had a change in your immigration status that makes you newly eligible to enroll in coverage through the Marketplace, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. See if you can enroll in a Marketplace health plan outside Open Enrollment.
- Financial help is available. If you’re a lawfully present immigrant and meet other eligibility criteria, you can buy private health insurance through the Marketplace, and may be eligible for lower costs on monthly premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs based on your income. More than 8out of 10 people who have enrolled in a health insurance plan through the Marketplace have qualified for financial help. In fact, most people can find monthly premiums for $75 or less, after financial assistance. In general, individuals and families whose household income for the year is between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty line for their family size may be eligible for the premium tax credit or financial assistance to pay for your premium. You can find the levels here based on the household size. If you make less than 100 percent of the federal poverty line, which is $11,770 for an individual or $24,250 for a family of 4 (higher in Alaska and Hawaii) and you aren’t eligible for Medicaid because of your immigration status, you may still qualify for lower costs on Marketplace coverage.
- If you’re a “qualified non-citizen” and meet your state’s income and other eligibility rules, you may be eligible for Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage. See a list of “qualified non-citizen” statuses and other important details.
- If you’re a “qualified non-citizen,” you may have a 5-year waiting period to get full Medicaid or CHIP coverage. This means you must wait 5 years after receiving “qualified” immigration status and meet all other eligibility rules in the state before being eligible for full Medicaid or CHIP. See a list of exceptions to the 5-year waiting period and other important details.
- Many immigrant families are of “mixed status,” with members having different immigration and citizenship statuses. Mixed status families can apply for financial assistance for private insurance for their dependent family members who are eligible for coverage through the Marketplace, or for Medicaid and CHIP coverage. Family members who aren’t applying for health coverage for themselves won’t be asked if they have eligible immigration status.
- Federal and State Marketplaces, as well as state Medicaid and CHIP agencies, can’t require you to provide information about the citizenship or immigration status of any family or household members who aren’t applying for coverage for themselves.
- States can’t deny you benefits because a family or household member who isn’t applying has not provided his or her citizenship or immigration status.
- Information that you provide to the Marketplace won’t be used for immigration enforcement purposes.
- If you’re not eligible for Marketplace coverage or you can’t afford a health plan, you can get low-cost health care at a nearby community health center. Community health centers provide primary health care services to all residents in the health center’s service area. Find more information here.