USA’s Healthcare System

The Affordable Care Act – also known as Obama Care – defines a list of immigrants who can qualify for coverage under the new US healthcare marketplace. Lawful immigrants to the US may qualify for ObamaCare and will be subject to the rules defined in the Affordable Care Act for residents of the U.S.

A lawful permanent resident is any person who is not a citizen of the United States but is residing in the U.S. under legally recognized status as an immigrant. Immigrants qualify for health care through the healthcare marketplace or their employer under the Affordable Care Act. An immigrant is not a visitor. Visitors are better defined as tourists, and visitors do not qualify for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Canadian’s Living and Working in the USA

Under ObamaCare, foreign workers such as those carrying an H1 visa, L1 visa, etc., who are legally residing and employed in the United States are subject to the same federal health insurance rules as US citizens.

To avoid penalties, foreign workers must be covered by one of the following:

  • Any health insurance plan in the new health insurance marketplace
  • Any qualified individual health insurance plan
  • Any employer-based health insurance plan

Each of the above qualifies as minimal necessary coverage under Affordable Care Act.

If you are a first-time visa holder and coming to the US for a job, it’s important for you to buy a visitors health insurance plan prior to leaving your home country to cover any medical treatment you may have to receive while in the U.S. or buy a temporary health insurance before your employer-based health insurance plan is in effect. A visitors health insurance plan can cover you for this initial period until one of the following occurs:

  • Your employer enrolls you into the group health insurance plan
  • or you are able to enroll in a regular long-term health insurance plan through the insurance market

A visitors health insurance plan is the ideal way to get the necessary health insurance coverage you need while in the US until you have the opportunity to purchase an alternative plan. It’s also the ideal way to protect dependents who come to the US with you – in fact, it’s essential.

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