Can Immigrants Get Medicare In The US?

Everyone knows that healthcare in the US is very expensive. It is particularly taxing on those who may be visiting the country for a short period and unexpectedly need to seek medical attention while here. Whether it is a minor ailment or serious long-term medical treatment, the trauma of dealing with the expenses is heavy. Travel medical insurance is a very sensible option for visitors to the US. Not only does it help in protecting your wallet, but also gives you the peace of mind to travel with ease.
HomeUS Visa & ImmigrationCan Immigrants Get Medicare In The US?

Parents visiting from India are particularly concerned about the insurance options when visiting their children in the US. Visitors insurance is the first and foremost step to undertake after booking their tickets to the US.

Another question that frequently gets asked is about Medicare – can immigrants get Medicare in the USA? Are visitors to the US eligible for Medicare? Is there a temporary or short term insurance plan for US visitors?

What Is Medicare?

Medicare is a US federal program that provides health insurance. This is for either people who are 65 years and older or certain younger people with disabilities. 

Medicare has two parts: Part A which covers hospital insurance and Part B which covers medical Insurance. Medicine insurance is covered by Part D. Finally, Part C covers things like vision, hearing, dental, and lower out-of-pocket costs.

Medicare essentially protects Americans form excessive medical costs and helps improve the quality of their lives as well as the lives of their families.

Eligibility For Medicare

  • To qualify for Medicare, a person must be a US citizen, or legal permanent resident. 
  • He/she should be over 65 years of age.
  • He/she or their spouse must have worked in the US and paid Medicare taxes for minimum of 40 quarters before applying for Medicare.

How Much Does Medicare Cost?

Medicare is based on your income and if you have contributed towards the Medicare taxes for at least 40 quarters prior. The premium amount increases if you have paid Medicare taxes for less than 30 quarters, so on and so forth.

Medicare Premiums

Medicare premiums are based off of your modified adjusted gross income, or MAGI. These premiums typically increase each year, so it is important to visit the website to check current premiums based on your current income.

Can Immigrants Get Medicare In The USA?

Short answer is no, new immigrants or non-resident aliens are not eligible for Medicare. Undocumented aliens are barred from both Medicare and non-emergency Medicaid.

The primary requirement to be able to apply for Medicare is having contributed to medicare taxes for at least 40 quarters prior to become eligible to apply.

Age is another factor: US citizens can avail of Medicare only after the age of 65.

New immigrants are not eligible for Medicare regardless of their age. However, once immigrants meet the residency requirements, eligibility and enrollment works the same as it does for others.

Can Immigrants Get Medicare In The US?

Time: You may be considered for Medicare if you are a US citizen or a permanent legal resident who has lived in the United States for at least five years.

Related Article: Difference Between Medicare & Medicaid

What Are The Residency Requirements For Medicare?

To be eligible for any Medicare benefits, the applicant must:

  • Be a lawful permanent resident (LPR, holding a green card)
  • Have five years of continuous residence in the United States immediately prior to Medicare enrollment.
  • For green card holders applying for US citizenship, all paperwork should be legal and above board.
  • Moreover, if the green card applicant has received any public benefits, it should be acquired lawfully.

Emergency Medicaid

Emergency Medicaid is a special kind of Medicaid that will pay the full cost of emergency room services. Emergency Medicaid is only for immigrants, and it will only pay for very serious emergencies. You can get Emergency Medicaid even if you are undocumented.

Health Insurance Options For Green Card Holders

If you don’t qualify for Medicare, you should definitely consider buying temporary health insurance which provides medical coverage for non-U.S. citizens.

If you’re a green card holder who doesn’t reside in the U.S. and is just visiting, you may be able to purchase a plan for temporary health coverage for green card holders for coverage while in the country. 

To learn more about eligibility for Medicare, visit U.S. Medicare department online at or call 1800.MEDICARE (1800.633.4227). 



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