With more than a million immigrants coming in to the United States every year, be it for a short visiting trip or a longer trip, albeit on a non-immigrant visa it is always advisable to take medical insurance for the temporary health coverage you will need while here. While the Affordable Care Act might apply to a certain category of US immigrants, it doesn’t apply to immigrants who spend over 330 days outside of the US. In that case, they would need to buy either an immigrant medical insurance plan or a visitor's insurance such as Inbound Immigrant, Patriot America Plus or Diplomat America. Many new US immigrants make the risky mistake of coming to the US without buying health insurance. There could be many reasons that a visitor applying for a US immigrant visa doesn’t consider health insurance. New immigrants may not be able to get health insurance upon arriving in the US for a number of reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Waiting on employment
  • Waiting on Medicare
  • Waiting to receive social security number
  • Arrived in US after open enrollment period for Obamacare ends 

All of these and other situations are usually limited to a brief period of time, which is why many new immigrants choose to go uninsured. This exposes them to unforeseen medical emergencies and the exorbitant costs attached to them. Unaware that without health insurance, a simple visit to the doctor can cost a few hundred dollars at the minimum, and a more serious medical emergency can cost up to thousands of dollars, immigrants to the US ought to be prepared with some form of health insurance for protection.

Short term health insurance  provides medical coverage for new immigrants for temporary period. It is available for any US immigrant below the age of 65, who could be on a H-1, L-1, F-1, or J-1 visa status.

How Does Medical Insurance Help New US Immigrants?

Short term medical insurance is designed to protect against unforeseen illnesses, injuries, medical emergencies, and other incidents. These medical insurance plans for new immigrants may typically offer the following health-care benefits (either in combination or all of it) for any new sickness and injury that happens after the effective plan date:

  • Surgery treatment
  • Ambulance and hospital room expenses
  • Urgent care visits
  • Dental coverage
  • AD&D insurance
  • Emergency medical evacuation coverage
  • Acute onset of pre-existing condition coverage up to a limit
  • Return of mortal remains

It is important to note that pre-existing conditions , maternity care, and preventative care such as annual medical exams, immunizations, and check-ups may not be covered by short-term health insurance. Such treatments should be completed before leaving your home country.

When is a Good Time to Purchase Health Insurance for US Immigrants? Before or After Arriving in the US?

Visitors coming into the US on an immigrant visa can purchase medical insurance both before or after arrival into the US. However, it is advisable to do so earlier on. Should anything happen in between when they are not covered, they risk paying huge medical bills out of pocket. Aircraft complications, car accidents, or simple injuries and illnesses could occur immediately after arriving in the USA, putting one in need of medical attention. Moreover, it is important to consider the time period between the purchase date and coverage effective date.

It is important that new immigrants have health insurance while in the US. Even if they are visiting for a short period of time, medical emergencies and accidents can happen at any time without notice, leaving them with huge medical bills to pay. New immigrants can avoid a financial disaster and get the medical coverage they need with a short-term health insurance plan designed for US immigrants.

To explore insurance options suitable for an immigrant visa to the US there are  Short Term Health Insurance Plans that can be evaluated. There is more information on the FAQs for Short Term Health Insurance that will help make a sensible decision sooner. Those who are not eligible for short term health insurance may consider purchasing  health insurance for immigrants.