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Q: If I’m Not a U.S. Citizen, Can I Still Be Eligible for Medicaid?

Asked by Anonymous on June 20, 2018

Julia Pak June 20, 2018

Yes, you may be eligible for Medicaid if you are:

  • A qualified immigrant who has reached the end of the 5-year waiting period. Examples include:
    • Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) and
    • Green card holders
  • A qualified immigrant who is exempt from the 5-year waiting period. Examples include:
    • Asylees,
    • Refugees,
    • Cuban/Haitian entrants,
    • Victims of trafficking, including spouses, children, siblings, or parents,
    • Battered non-citizens, including spouses, children, or parents, and
    • Veterans and active members of military, including spouses and children

Undocumented immigrants are not eligible to enroll in Medicaid.

The 5-Year Waiting Period for Immigrants
Once you are a qualified immigrant, you have to wait 5 years in order to apply for and receive coverage from Medicaid. However, some non-citizens may be exempt from this waiting period depending on their circumstances.

Meeting Medicaid Requirements
If you are a qualified immigrant, you must also meet your state’s eligibility requirements on income and household size for Medicaid. Depending on the state you live in, you can follow the income guideline, which includes the number of individuals in your family/household.

Taking the Next Steps
It’s important to double check your immigration status as well as your qualifications to see if you are eligible for Medicaid. Researching the basics on Medicaid can help you in the process of finding coverage as a non-citizen. Plans under Medicaid can vary depending on the state but most should cover certain essential services.

You can apply for Medicaid at any point of the year. If you meet the income and residency requirements for your state, you may be able to receive coverage. Medicaid is extraordinarily helpful if you are eligible to enroll. Since 2013, there has been an 18.6 percent increase in Medicaid enrollees and this number is only increasing.

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