Are New Legal Permanent Residents Eligible for Medicare or ACA?

As a sponsor of AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) we frequently are asked what medical plans are available for their clients over 65.

Medicare Eligibility:

To be eligible for Medicare, immigrants must have worked 40 quarters, and have been issued a social security number to work under their own name that was valid. Quarters worked without authorization don’t work unless at some point the worker was issued a valid social security number in their name.

ACA Eligibility:

If the person is recent immigrant and has not accrued 40 quarters of work history, but is lawfully present, they can qualify for health care through the ACA(Obamacare). There is no five-year waiting period under the ACA and individuals could be eligible for subsides to offset the costs. We recently were able to help a couple in their 80’s find an ACA plan as they weren’t eligible for Medicare yet. The only negative with an individual getting a subsidy is a possible “public charge.” To avoid this an individual must simple forgo the subsidy.

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