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Can immigrants buy health plans through the exchange? Can they receive coverage through Medicaid or CHIP?

Most lawfully present immigrants who have been in the United States for five years or more will be able to purchase health coverage through the exchange (also known as the health insurance marketplace). Like U.S. citizens, immigrants who purchase plans through the exchange can qualify for premium subsidies and cost-sharing subsidies, which can help make a plan more affordable.

Provided you meet the income and state residency requirements, you may also qualify for coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). If your current immigration status prevents you from qualifying for Medicaid, you may still be able to purchase coverage through the exchange and receive help with premiums and cost sharing.

There are some exceptions to the general rules outlined above. For example, refugees, asylees, and veterans and their families may be able to bypass the five-year residency rule. In some states, children and pregnant women can also qualify for health coverage before five years have passed. On the other hand, some immigrants authorized to work in the United States will not be able to enroll even if they have been present for five years or more.

Immigrants who are undocumented and not lawfully present in the United States will not be able to purchase a plan through the exchange, nor can they enroll in Medicaid or CHIP.

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