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Questions that Bother U.S. Immigrants

Jul 31, 2013

Immigrants residing in the United States often have many questions about navigating the systems and rules of this country.  Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding health insurance and health care:


Will the hospital still help me if I don’t have enough money to fully pay my bill?

There are many immigrants who can’t pay for health insurance or health care without help. But hospitals have emergency medical care provisions. This means that emergency rooms are bound by law and ethics not to turn away patients in need, regardless to their inability to pay for services.


Can I get health insurance for my parent?

Many immigrants want to bring their parents to live in America, and when they do, securing health insurance for them is frequently a concern. It’s possible to add a parent to your own health insurance as a dependent, but that depends on the plan you’ve purchased. Refer to your summary plan description. This document spells out your health insurance rights and tells you how your health plan works, what benefits it provides, and how benefits may be obtained.


What should I do in case of pregnancy?

The State Medicaid Manual, developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, includes provisions for child delivery. Although the emergency exception allows women to obtain critical reproductive health care when it is urgently needed, the care available may not provide an all-encompassing program of reproductive health services.

It’s highly recommended that you obtain maternity coverage with your health insurance policy to ensure that good prenatal care is available to you. It’s better to apply for a health insurance plan that offers maternity coverage well before becoming pregnant.

The amount of coverage available differs according to which plan you enroll in and your state of residence.


Can a green card holder apply for Medicare?

In most cases, a new immigrant or a recent Green Card holder may not qualify for Medicare Insurance due to specific and strict eligibility criteria. A U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident aged 65 years or older usually qualifies for Medicare. One of the eligibility criteria is that the person or spouse must have worked in the U.S. and paid Medicare taxes for a minimum 40 quarters.


What do PPO and HMO mean?

HMO usually means that you agree to use a specific team of health care professionals. In most cases you select one doctor, from a list of the members, who will serve as your primary care physician. This physician now coordinates all of your health care, which means that he or she treats you directly and, when necessary, manages your referral to specialists.

PPO in most cases means having the ability to use any doctor or facility you choose, although the benefits are higher when you use one of the physicians or facilities that belong to the chosen PPO organization. All doctors and hospitals within a PPO network have agreed to accept a discounted fee for their services from the plan.


It’s not easy to adjust to life in a new country. But our insurance agents will always give you a hand and offer their professional assistance. Remember, it pays to find the right health insurance for you and your family.

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