Every immigrant to the United States is foreign, which makes the U.S. health care system incredibly susceptible to stressors and factors outside of providers’ control. Non-U.S. residents who do not get coverage through a job abroad or their own home country can use some health insurance assistance programs, but it’s always best to check with your insurer ahead of time for your needs on what other options are available for you in your situation.
Some of the most popular health insurance assistance programs for non-U.S. residents are :
- The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides financial assistance to help individuals purchase health coverage through the Marketplace or in a state Medicaid program.
- The Special Immigrant Children’s Health Program provides coverage to children and their families who are sponsored by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, but not born in the United States.
- The Medicare Prescription Drug Program provides low-income seniors, individuals with disabilities, and people who are newly eligible for Medicare with coverage for prescription drugs.
- RSVP Healthcare operates the Refugee Medical Assistance program that helps refugees and asylees receive primary care in the United States and access to specialized health care, including mental health services, substance abuse treatment, maternity care, and more.
What is a WHDAT?
The World Health Declaration of the World Health Assembly was adopted on July 7, 1948 and states that “the health of all peoples is a fundamental human right.” This declaration helped motivate the founding of WHO in 1946. In order to realize this goal, member nations developed various health insurance assistance programs for non-U.S. residents.
Generally speaking, WHDATs provide medical assistance to citizens or legal permanent residents of other countries who need it due to a lack of insurance or insufficient coverage. The assistance can be in the form of cash contributions, vouchers for medical services, or both. Usually, WHDATs also provide information and advice on obtaining appropriate health care coverage.
There are dozens of WHDATs across the globe, many of which are based in Europe and Asia. Some notable examples include the European Community’s Solidarity Fund (established in 1957), Japan’s National Insurance Center (established in 1971), and China’s Social Welfare Fund for migrant workers (established in 1996).
As the world becomes increasingly globalized, WHDATs are becoming an increasingly important tool for addressing health care needs in remote or underdeveloped areas.
Types of Programs Offered by a WHDAT
There are a variety of health insurance assistance programs offered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that can help non-U.S. residents get health insurance coverage. Some of these programs provide low-cost or free health insurance coverage, while others provide financial assistance to help people buy health insurance plans.
Some of the most common HHS health insurance assistance programs for non-U.S. residents include the following:
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created several new types of health insurance assistance programs for individuals and families who do not have access to affordable private health insurance. These programs are known as the Marketplace Health Insurance Plans (MHIPs). MHIPs provide federally subsidized, private health insurance coverage through state marketplaces and other eligible outlets, such as Employer Provided Insurance Programs (EPIPs). Eligibility for these programs depends on your income and whether you have an existing medical condition. You can find more information about these programs on the HHS website.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a government-run program that provides medical coverage for children who do not have health coverage through their parents or legal guardians. CHIP is available to children in families with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level, which is $24,250 for an individual in 2017. There is no need to qualify for this program based on your age, income, or medical conditions. Anyone living in the U.
S. can apply for CHIP.
The Medicare program is a government-run health insurance program for people age 65 or older and people with disabilities. Medicare provides coverage for hospital services, doctor visits, and some types of prescription drugs. You do not have to be enrolled in Medicare to receive help paying for health insurance. Anyone living in the U.S. can apply for Medicare.
Getting Canada, PFA, or DFAS Health Insurance on Your Own
If you’re not a U.S. citizen or green card holder, you may be eligible for health insurance assistance programs in Canada or the United States. In Canada, you can get health insurance through the provincial health insurance plans (PHIPs), which are usually operated by the provinces. You can also buy supplemental private health insurance through private carriers. In the United States, you can get health insurance through a number of mechanisms, including buying individual health insurance policies on your own or through an employer-sponsored plan. There are also many government-run programs that provide medical care to low-income residents.
Implications to U.S. Foreign Nationals and Impaired Residents
Many Americans are not aware that health insurance assistance programs are available to non-U.S. residents. If you are a non-U.S. resident and need health insurance assistance, the following is a list of some of the most common assistance programs:
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes important provisions for individuals with income below certain thresholds. These thresholds are based on what is known as an individual’s affordability index (IAI). Households whose total family income is at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines would be eligible for premium tax credits to help pay for coverage through a Marketplace plan. In addition, Medicaid expansion provides access to coverage for low-income adults without children who have incomes up to 138% of the FPL, along with other coverage protections such as access to mental health and substance abuse services, preventive care, and maternity care.
There are also many other government and private health insurance assistance programs available to non-U.S. residents including but not limited to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicare, Veterans Affairs healthcare benefits, TRICARE/CHAMPUS military healthcare benefits, employer sponsored insurance (ESI), COBRA continuation coverage, State sponsored insurance programs like MAHPERS in Massachusetts, High Risk Pool Waivers in Texas and Kentucky, Uninsured Kids program which helps uninsured children receive doctor visits and vaccines ,and more….
Non-U.S. citizens who are living in the U.S. on a visa, work authorization, student status, or as temporary residents may be eligible for health insurance programs offered through their employers, school district, or health care exchanges.
If you are a non-U.S. resident and need health insurance assistance, there are a number of programs available to help you. Some of these programs provide aid only while you are living in the United States, while others offer permanent coverage regardless of your location. In addition, most programs have specific eligibility requirements that you need to meet before applying. If you have any questions about health insurance assistance programs for non-U.S. residents, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our experts at Healthline for more information.
There are a number of health insurance assistance programs available to help non-U.S. residents purchase health insurance. Some programs are only available while you are living in the United States, while others offer permanent coverage regardless of your location. Most programs have specific eligibility requirements that you need to meet before applying, so be sure to read the program’s guidelines carefully. If you have any questions about health insurance assistance programs for non-U.S. residents, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our experts at Healthline for more information.