Do You Need Health Insurance to Immigrate to the United States?

Do You Need Health Insurance to Immigrate to the United States?


If you’re keeping up with the news then you know that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld the Trump Administration’s ban on immigrants without health insurance. This comes after the courts had issued an injunction keeping the ban from going into effect.

Theoretically this would deny visa applications to any immigrants who didn’t have insurance from the approved insurance list. Yet this legal decision does not necessarily mean the ban will go into effect. It’s been sitting for long enough that the Secretary of State must verify that it’s still necessary to protect US workers. Meanwhile, challengers can still petition for a rehearing. They have 45 days to do so, which means the Biden Administration could enter office before the ban takes effect.

President-Elect Biden could then reverse the ban.

Yet all of this is speculation, and the truth is it might be wise to come into the United States with an approved health insurance plan anyway. 

What is an approved health care plan?

As of right now, an approved health care plan is one of the following types of plans:

  • Employer-sponsored plans
  • Short-term limited-duration health policies
  • Family-member plans
  • Catastrophic plans
  • Visitor health plans
  • Individual, unsubsidized market health care plans
  • Medicare
  • Tricare

Unapproved plans include Medicaid and plans which are available on the American Health Care Act exchange.

Why get one of these plans?

First, you insulate yourself against the never-ending policy shifts and help demonstrate your fitness for admission. Health insurance can strengthen your application. USCIS officials are still on the look out for immigrants who might come “under the public charge.” By showing you have health insurance you help to demonstrate that you’re ready to stand on your own two feet in the United States.

Second, the ACA plans are often good for little more than gaining admission to a doctor or a care facility. Rarely do they insulate you from giant bills. The most affordable plans on the ACA often come with a limited selection of health providers and benefits. Sometimes people who purchase these plans end up paying almost as much for services, out-of-pocket, than they would have had they not had insurance at all.

Health care in the United States is expensive, and a good insurance plan can help insulate you from the worst of it. Whether or not it’s required for immigration it is often a good idea to secure it.

It’s also often a good idea to secure help from a local immigration attorney before attempting to apply for any kind of visa. Reach out to John Hykel Law to get help with your immigration application today.

See also:

Is a Work Visa a Path to a Green Card?

Why An Immigration Attorney is Your Best Bet

Injunction of the Public Charge Rule

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