The eligibility requirements for Medicare are complex. The age for eligibility as well as the different open enrollment periods are the cause of bewilderment for many.  But eligibility for immigrants can be especially confusing.

Below we discuss what is required for immigrants to receive different Medicare coverage.

What is Medicare?

First, an explanation of Medicare is needed.  Medicare is the federal government program that provides health care coverage for those 65 years old or older.  It is separated into three different Parts:

  • Medicare Part A is hospital insurance which covers inpatient care, including care received in a skilled nursing facility, and, in some situations, at home.
  • Medicare Part B more closely resembles what many think of as traditional health insurance.  In general, Part B covers medically necessary services and supplies needed to diagnose and treat a medical condition.  This includes preventive services such as screenings, vaccines, and counseling.
  • Medicare Part D is quite simply insurance for your medication needs.  Once enrolled, you will use the insurance carrier’s network of pharmacies to purchase your self-administered prescription medications.

Who is Eligible for Medicare?

Of the three Medicare Parts, only Part A is free.  And Part A is only free if you or your spouse have worked and paid taxes to Medicare for at least 10 years. As a result of these restrictions, new immigrants are not provided Medicare Part A benefits.

If immigrants have been permanent residents for 5 years, have lived in the U.S for that entire time, and are 65 years old or older, then they can purchase Medicare Part A coverage from the government. Part B and Part D have to be purchased by everyone, regardless of the length of residency or the amount of time paying taxes to Medicare.

What Should I Do If I’m A New Immigrant?

If you don’t meet the eligibility requirements to pay for Medicare Part A, then there are still medical insurance options available. The Greencard Holders Medical Insurance plan may meet your insurance needs.

Alternatively, insurance for new immigrants can be purchased directly from some private insurance companies. We encourage you to call our agency to discuss the options available to you.

We can determine your insurance needs and find a policy that best fits your budget. Call us today to speak to a licensed specialist.