Our former president, Barack Obama, signed a healthcare reform bill in 2010; the major provisions became effective in 2014. Officially, it is called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) or Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, many people simply refer to it as Obamacare.
Obamacare mandated that US citizens, permanent residents and certain other US residents are required to purchase ACA compliant health insurance and maintain it throughout the year or pay a tax penalty at the time of filing a tax return. For 2019 and onwards, the penalty has been eliminated.
The vast majority of green card holders or permanent residents qualify to enroll into PPACA compliant insurance either through their employer or through the Marketplace; however, the situation is not so straightforward for elderly immigrants above 65 years of age.
The following information will help you determine whether the Greencard holder can qualify to enroll into an ACA plan or would have to purchase short term new immigrant health insurance.
- If the person is over 65 years of age and has been a green card holder for over 5 years, he/she would qualify to enroll into Medicare. However, if the person has not worked in the US for at least 40 quarters (10 years), they would have to pay for it.
- If the person is less than 65 years of age or has stayed in the US for less than 5 years:
- If the persons annual income is at least 100% of the federal poverty level, they can enroll into a PPACA plan.
- If the persons annual income is above 400% of the federal poverty level, they are not eligible to receive any subsidy.
- If the persons annual income is below 100% of the federal poverty level, and if they are being claimed as dependent on someone else's tax return, they can enroll into PPACA plan through claimant. For example, a US citizen son sponsored his parents' green card. In this situation, the parents can apply through their son.
- If the persons annual income is below 100% of the federal poverty level and not being claimed as a dependent, they can purchase new immigrant insurance.
- In any case if the PPACA plan is not available in a given state due to the age or other reasons, they can enroll into new immigrant insurance for a limited duration (until they are able to enroll into an ACA compliant insurance plan).
The following flow chart will be very helpful determining the Obamacare eligibility for permanent residents.