Best Medical Insurance for Green Card Holders

So, you’ve immigrated to USA recently and need a medical insurance for time being. Perfect! I’m glad you thought about medical insurance during this time. Because, without medical insurance, be it for short term travel or immigration, things can be very expensive in USA. If you are a recent immigrant, I strongly suggest you get a temporary medical insurance.

According to the American Immigration Centre, in 2013, more than 990,000 foreign nationals, mainly originating from China, Mexico and India, received permanent resident status (green card status) in the US, and the figure has only been increasing since then. Green-card holders become Lawful Permanent Residents or LPRs, and can enjoy every right to work, study, reside and own property in the United States.

However, according to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), LPRs or green card holders, along with US citizens, also need to arm themselves with the qualified health insurance, irrespective of whether you live in the US on a permanent basis or not. Penalties will be levied on green card holders for not enrolling for health insurance, where you could end up paying a fine, along with the cost of medical care. Let us take a look at the various options available for medical insurance for new immigrants and green card holders in the USA.

Medical Insurance for Green Card Holders who Frequently Shuttle Between USA and their Home Country

There are green card holders who do not stay in the USA permanently, but visit America every six months or once in a year. For such permanent residents, the Affordable Care Act requirements do not apply. Here is a list of some of the best, top-rated medical insurance plans in the US, published by Visitors Coverage, meant for such green card holders, immigrants or permanent residents in the country. With the purchase of any of them, you can stay assured of quality health coverage for up to 3 years or more.

Limited Insurance Plans for Greencard Holders

Inbound USA, Inbound Guest and Inbound Immigrant are the limited yet fixed coverage health insurance plans administered by Seven Corners. For every service or treatment, the plan will pay a pre-defined fixed dollar amount. Although the policy covers for a certain period, which is its outer limit, there are services and treatments that are valid for a limited time.

Features of Limited Plans

  • These are essentially USA only plans.
  • Offers restrictive and very limited and International travel coverage.
  • The deductible is applied to the fixed benefit amounts and not the amount that the doctor’s charge.
  • These plans have a per-incident deductible which applies once to each separate injury or sickness.

1. Inbound Guest

  • Plan will pay a fixed amount based on incident
  • This plan offers basic coverage..
  • Is not expensive but also offer less benefits
  • Coverage is from 5 days to 180 days
  • Plan is renewable and cancelable anytime (great for those waiting)
  • Visit any doctor, No PPO network
  • Won’t accept an addresses in Colorado (CO), Maryland (MD), New York (NY), South Dakota (SD) & Washington (WA).
  • Offers Free Rx Discount Card
  • Up to $120,000 coverage for acute onset of pre-existing conditions

2. Inbound USA

  • This plan is pretty much the same as Inbound guest, except that it offers coverage from 5 days to 364 days.

3. Inbound Immigrant

  • Plan will pay a fixed amount based on incident
  • This plan is recommended for folks with limited budget but are long term immigrants
  • Renew or cancel anytime
  • Won’t accept an address in Colorado (CO), Maryland (MD), New York (NY), South Dakota (SD) & Washington (WA).
  • Free Rx Discount Card
  • Acute onset of pre-existing conditions coverage, for age under 70 years.

Recommended Insurance for Green Card Holders

Obama Care for Permanent Residents or Green Card Holders

Obama Care, properly known as The Affordable Care Act, contains the list of immigrants, like the LPR or green card holders, who are eligible for coverage under the new US healthcare marketplace. A green card holder thus qualifies for government assistance at affordable rates, along with state, federal medical or Medicare for Green Card programs under the Obama Care health insurance ordinance.

To determine eligibility, the cost and many other details for Obama Care, certain factors like the state of residence, geographical area, income and the number of dependents are taken into consideration. The best part is that unlike the usual medical plans, which do not cover for a pre-existing medical ailment, Obama Care does not exclude pre-existing conditions in the applicant’s health coverage, which are covered like any other ailment.

The applicant needs to produce certain documents, depending on their immigration status, when they apply for and enroll in marketplace coverage. Visit the HealthCare.gov website to get a list of the documents required.

Comprehensive Insurance Plans for Greencard Holders

For coverage within USA and Canada, green card holders can opt for comprehensive plans like Green Cover, administered by Seven Corners, and the Bridge Plan, administered by PIU.

4. Diplomat America

  • Plan pays 80% of first $5,000, then 100%
  • Comprehensive coverage plan
  • Coverage from 15 days to 12 months
  • Cannot renew or cancel
  • Covers during International Travel

5. Green Cover

  • This plan is for elderly folks. Age 60 – 95 years
  • Policy term is up to 364 days
  • Easy online application process
  • Includes International Travel coverage
  • You can visit any hospital or Doctor
  • Renew or cancel anytime
  • Free Rx Discount Card
  • Cannot accept an address in Colorado (CO), Maryland (MD), New York (NY), South Dakota (SD) & Washington (WA).

How do These Work?

These comprehensive plans pay 80% to $10,000 and then 100%, after deductibles. Firstly, the insured needs to pay the accumulated medical expenses until the deductibles are met. After this, the insurance will pay 80% of the accumulated eligible expenses up to $10,000. After this amount, the insurance will pay 100% of the accumulated eligible expenses up to the policy maximum.

You should know that any expenses incurred by the health insurance plan holder beyond the policy maximum will be his own responsibility.

Recommended Insurance for Green Card Holders

To summarize, the best medical insurance plans for green card holders are…

  1. Inbound USA
  2. Inbound Guest
  3. Inbound Immigrant
  4. Green Cover
  5. Diplomat America

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can green card holders get health insurance?
    Yes. There are different ways green card holders can get health insurance. Depending on your age and period of stay in the United States, you can apply for a US domestic insurance (offered by Govt. like Obamacare, Medicare etc) or get a short term medical insurance. Just being a green card holder is not enough to figure out whether you are eligible for Obamacare or Medicare. You will need to consider how long you have stayed in the US, whether or not you have worked in the US, when and how long will you be traveling out of the country etc. I suggest you contact a attorney near you to figure this out. Having said that, if you are awaiting to be enrolled in any medical insurance or for some reason don’t have medical insurance benefits, getting a temporary medical insurance is a good idea.
  • Can an immigrant get health insurance?
    Yes. If you are a legal immigrant, there are many ways for you to get enrolled for short term medical insurance while you are awaiting to be enrolled in a Government medical insurance program (or doesn’t qualify for any other reason). If you are a green card holder, here are your best options to get medical insurance.
  • Are green card holders eligible for Medicare?
    Yes, If you are a Green card holder and has worked in the USA for 40 quarters, you are eligible for Medicare. And if you are a  permanent resident in the US for 5 years and hold a Green card, you can purchase Medicare directly from the Government. Here is some information on how to apply for Medicare.
  • Can sponsors of Green card holders add parents to their insurance plan?
    As far as I know, it’s not possible. As you can only add your dependents to your insurance plans. And dependents are spouse and children, not your parents or relatives.

All the best! If you have any questions, please feel free to comment.


About the author

Mani Karthik

Hi, Mani Karthik here. Having lived in USA, India & Middle East, and worked for big MNC’s to startups, I have a lot to share with you. My aim is to help people, by sharing everything I’ve learned in life. This blog is read today, by more than 150K people world over! I currently live in LA, California and visit India occasionally. Here’s my full story. Connect with me on FacebookInstagram, Twitter or WhatsApp (+001-408-489-4785). Happy to help! :)

2 Comments

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  • Hai Mr.Karthik, I am curious about one thing. Idly curious you can say. Probably you might be able to solve my curiosity.
    My uncle who is now about 74 has gone to California with his wife. His daughter has sponsored them. He has not told anything clearly about what will happen if he falls ill there. He simply says that his daughter will see to it. Then went last year and another four years to go before they can apply for Medicare. I have been reading about Medicare, Medicaid and Obama Care and all. Could not understand it properly but got a rough idea. My doubt is—‘Is it not necessary for them to purchase medical insurance from Marketplace till they qualify for Medicare’? Even after the five years of ‘incubation period’ how they can get Medicare as he or his wife has not contributed anything to the Federal Medicaid Fund(whatever it may be called).
    He may not have any money. He is a pauper for all practical purposes. But his daughter is earning. Will he be then eligible for Medi-Cal? ForMedi-Cal eligibility is the sponsor’s income is also included with that of the individual?
    Idle curiosity. As you know ‘An idle mind is a Devil’s workshop’.
    Regards,
    V.K.Guptan

    • Hi,

      Yes you are right. He would need to buy a medical insurance while he is awaiting his benefits. The companies I have mentioned above are good plans to pick from. There are few options for him to choose and most of them are not expensive. Reg: Medical eligibility, I suggest you check with the official bodies in US as things might have changed and updated.

      Essentially, as he is a new immigrant (or visitor – not clear from your response) he needs to get temporary medical insurance. He can always extend them if needed later.

      Here are some good options.

      Let me know if you have any doubts. All the best!

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