The H4 visa is issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to immediate family members of those individuals holding an H-1B visa. The USCIS allows immediate family members to lawfully visit and stay in the U.S. for the same amount of time the principal family member (holding an H-1B visa) is permitted to stay. Overseas family members may decide to apply for an H4 visa for a number of reasons, including assisting family members in the United States with family, home care, and even to begin working themselves.
H4 Visa Holder Rights
In the United States as an H4 visa holder, an individual can hold a driver’s license, open bank accounts, and get an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number for U.S. tax purposes. They may also study in the United States. They are not eligible to get a Social Security Number, and they cannot be employed by a U.S. company unless they apply for and receive an EAD, or Employment Authorization Document.
When family members from outside the U.S. visit or come to live for a temporary period of time on an H4 visa, it is highly recommended that they purchase comprehensive medical insurance to cover their medical care while they are in the U.S.
Do H4 Visa Holders Need Health Insurance?
Not only are health care costs extremely high in the U.S., H4 visa holders are not qualified to purchase health insurance under the U.S. health insurance marketplace. They are also not qualified for medical care under Medicare or Medicaid programs because of their foreign status.
For these reasons, it is essential for H4 visa holders to have a visitors health insurance plan with adequate coverage to ensure their medical emergencies, illnesses, and injuries are covered while they are in the U.S. Otherwise, they may be faced with paying extremely costly medical bills and can even jeopardize the status of the family member who holds the H1B visa, as they are technically financially responsible for their sponsored H4 visa holder.
A H4 visa holder may need medical insurance coverage in any of the following situations:
- Coverage for your travel to USA: You should consider protecting yourself from the moment you leave your home country. You may need coverage for a medical emergency while on the aircraft, for emergency evacuation, or for any emergencies that may occur while waiting for your connecting flight.
- Coverage for medical emergencies/illnesses that occur in the USA: Coverage for things like; sudden illnesses, body aches, slips and falls, and any injuries can be covered with a comprehensive coverage visitors insurance plan.
- Employer’s health insurance waiting period: Your H1B family member’s employer may offer health insurance, however, it is very common that their health insurance is not effective immediately upon arrival to the U.S. Additionally, depending on which U.S. state their employer is located, the health insurance may have a waiting period before their employer-provided insurance starts covering you.
- No family coverage: Your H1B family member’s employer may not cover family members like spouse and children who are on H4 visas.
- Adding H4 depends may cost more: Adding dependents who are on an H4 visa to primary person who is on an H1B visa may increase cost and contribution from the H1B visa holder’s paycheck.
H4 Spouses and US Visitors Insurance
If the H4 visa holder is the spouse of the person holding an H1B visa, their employer-based health insurance may not be effective immediately. This is true of dependent children as well.
Some employers require the employee to work for some months before their health insurance is in effect. In addition, adding a spouse and/or child or two to the H-1B visa holder’s insurance plan will be an expense that is automatically deducted from their paycheck.
Where to Buy H4 Visa Health Insurance
People coming for the first time to the U.S. on an H4 visa should have a visitors insurance plan adequate for covering any medical emergency they experience in the U.S. The coverage should last for at least as long as it takes the H4 visa holder to be covered on their family member’s employer-based plan and it should be renewable in case there is any delay in the employer coverage. The reason for this is that any gap in coverage puts the H4 visa holder at great risk of having to pay a very expensive medical bill if they do not have coverage – even for a single day.
H4 Visa Health Insurance Plans
- Rated “A” Plan
- 100% coverage in and outside of PPO network
- Renewable and Cancellable
- Coverage during international travel
- Acute onset of pre-existing conditions coverage provided in the policy
- Plan pays fixed amount per incident up to policy maximum
- Basic coverage, low cost, less benefits
- Coverage from 5 to 365 days
- Renewable and Cancellable
- No PPO network. You can visit any doctor of your choice
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DisclaimerThe information represented on this page is provided by VisitorsCoverage Inc., a US-based licensed insurance service provider.