Immigration has been a significant root of population growth and cultural change for much of our country’s history. If you’re wondering whether new immigrants can get Medicare, the answer is not right away. It depends on how you define the word “new.”
Wait Five Years to Get Medicare Part A
Medicare isn’t immediately available for new immigrants. If you’re new to the U.S., you’ll need to wait five years before you can buy Part A coverage.
You’ll also need to be 65 or older to be eligible for Medicare. In the meantime, you can buy your own private health insurance plan. Private carriers now offer health coverage to folks 65 or older — as long as they’re not enrolled in Medicare.
While recent immigrants are ineligible for Medicare, they should have no trouble getting private health insurance. U.S. citizens and permanent residents qualify for Part A if they’ve worked in the U.S. for at least a decade and are 65 and older.
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What Is Medicare?
Medicare is the national health insurance program for people in the United States who are 65 and older, including immigrants who have lived here for five or more years.
An Overview of Medicare Coverage
Medicare Part A is helpful when you need to pay for inpatient hospital care. It also helps pay for skilled nursing facility care for a limited time. Part B helps with services performed by your doctor or another medical provider. Part C (Medicare Advantage) is a type of plan offered by private carriers — contracted by Medicare — to provide Original Medicare benefits, and potentially more like dental, vision, and hearing packaged together. Meanwhile, Part D covers retail prescription drugs.
There’s also Medicare Supplemental insurance to consider, depending on your health. Medicare Supplements (Medigap) fill in the gaps leftover by Parts A and B, helping you cover copays, coinsurance, and deductibles. These plans, too, are sold by private carriers. Some policies even pay for emergency health care when you travel abroad.
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What Medicare Benefits Do Immigrants Pay For?
Older immigrants new to America are advised to wait out the five-year term. Then, they can pay for their Part A coverage.
EVERYONE must pay premiums for Parts B and D. These premiums update each year. Medicare Advantage plans, an alternative to Original Medicare coverage, come with premiums as well. And if you want supplemental insurance, you’ll pay a premium for that also. But it helps to know this in advance.
Medicare Is a Great Benefit for Seniors
There are many Medicare parts and plans that offer many benefits. It’s not legally required for seniors, but it’s of tremendous help to them.
You could also accrue penalties if you don’t enroll when you’re first eligible. You may not need certain coverage until you’re in your 70s, but it helps to work with an agent to understand your options — so you can get the insurance you need AND save as much money as possible!
We’ll Help You Choose an Affordable Plan.
Fussell and Goodyear Insurance Advisors have a combined 50 years in the insurance industry. Medicare can be confusing, but we’re here to make it easy. Call 1-877-874-0711 to discuss your options. We look forward to helping you select an affordable plan that fits your needs!