2019 Immigrant Health Insurance Changes

Immigrant Health Insurance 2019 Changes

Immigrant Health Insurance 2018 Changes

Immigrant Health Insurance 2019 Changes

In this post we discuss immigrant health insurance 2019 changes. This post is specifically for those immigrants arriving on a K-1 Fiance Visa or a IR-1 / CR-1 Spouse Visa.

The biggest change in immigrant health insurance in 2019 is the elimination of the individual mandate clause of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). This change was part of the New Tax Cut and Jobs Act.

New Tax Cut and Jobs Act

President Trump signed the “Tax Cut and Jobs Act” into law on December 22, 2017.

As far as health insurance, the law eliminates the penalty for not buying health insurance. The elimination of the penalty started January 1, 2019.

Previously, the individual mandate clause of the Obamacare required individuals that were eligible to buy health insurance through the marketplace to buy health insurance or pay a penalty at tax time.

For our readers, this was permanent residents (green card holders).

Now, there is no longer a penalty for not having health insurance for the 2019 tax year and into the future. However, the penalty is still in effect for the 2018 tax year.

The penalty for going without coverage for 2018 is $695 per adult or 2.5% of household income in excess of tax filing thresholds, whichever is higher.

Going without health insurance can save you a lot of money if you stay healthy and have no accidents. However, it can be very costly to you if you get sick or have an injury. Therefore, it is still a good idea to have some form of health insurance.

Other Immigrant Health Insurance 2019 Changes

Basically, there are no other major immigrant health insurance 2019 changes to report.

The United States health system of doctors and hospitals are mostly private institutions. These institutions charge a fee for service. As a result, fees can be very expensive. Therefore, it can be thousands of dollars depending upon the circumstances.

If you are in the United States and get sick or hurt, you end up with a very significant bill. Subsequently, the bill typically is in the hundreds or thousands of dollars. Even more if you are not under any health insurance.

Furthermore, if you can’t pay the bill, the doctor or hospital typically passed the bill onto a collection agency. That truly affects your credit in the future.

On the contrary, if you have health insurance, you are covered by the policy that you have.

Immigrant Health Insurance for Fiance or Spouse Visa Holders

When it comes to bringing loved ones to the U.S. from another country, there are many things to keep in mind. Firstly, their health and safety are among the most important.   Anything, such as unexpected illnesses, injuries, or accidents can occur at any time. Because of this, we highly recommended that you purchase immigrant health insurance or travel insurance. Particularly, not only protect their health, but their finances as well. While you can’t control the unexpected, you can take the necessary precautions to protect yourself. That is why having immigrant health insurance or travel insurance is the safest and smartest way to go.

Shopping for an immigrant health insurance to fit your circumstances is overwhelming and confusing. Each and every plan has its own set of positives, negatives, eligibility requirements, restrictions, and levels of coverage. Therefore, I want to help you feel more confident in making informed decisions by comparing different products. Also, keep in mind that the details and prices for each plan will depend on factors like the insured’s age, length of stay, and coverage needed.

Fiancé Visa Holder Insurance Options

Meeting my fiance at the airport. Now to select her immigrant health insurance.

For K-1 Fiance(e) Visa holders, their partner’s employer insurance program usually do not accept them before they are married. Consequently, this is the same for K-2 children of K-1 Visa holders.

Once they get married, they qualify for insurance under their new spouse’s employer’s insurance. This is because marriage is a qualifying event for obtaining health insurance. After that, there can be a several week period to sign up.

Typically, they cannot join the following insurance groups until they become a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR):

  • Government U.S. Healthcare.gov,
  • State sponsored marketplace insurance
  • Medicaid,
  • Medicare, or
  • other government insurance

They need to get married and Adjust your Status to become a LPR. Therefore, it takes several months to a year in order to obtain health insurance through these sources after you get married. Consequently, it takes many months to get permanent insurance.

In the mean time, they can purchase private insurance on their own. One way, in the mean time, to get coverage is to purchase temporary visitor’s insurance.

Fiance Visa Health Insurance Plan Options

Two of the best plans for fiance visa holders are the plans by Patriot AmericaPlus and  Liaison Travel Elite

Patriot AmericaPlus is a comprehensive coverage plan that, in-network, covers 90% of the first $5,000 and 100% after that. This policy comes at a higher price but provides a higher level of coverage and security as a result.

Liaison Travel Elite is a comprehensive coverage plan that, in-network, covers 100% up to policy maximum. However, out of network Pays 90% for first $5000, then 100% up to policy max of the first $5,000 and 100% after that. This policy comes at a higher price but provides a higher level of coverage and security as a result.

For more information details, see our blog post, Immigrant Health Insurance- Select The Right Plan.

When it comes to selecting the immigrant health insurance plan, first consider the overall condition of your health. If you tend to be more susceptible to injury or illness, are at an age where your health has grown more fragile, or already have medical conditions, you will want to spend the extra money on a plan that will provide you with an adequate level of coverage and peace of mind.

Get a quote - VisitorsCoverage.

Spouse Visa Holders or Parent with Green Card Insurance Options

My green card wife who needs immigrant health insurance.

As a permanent resident, you have more options for health insurance in the US.

IR-1 and Cr-1 Spousal Visa holders have a much shorter time to get insurance.

Because IR-1/CR-1’s fall into several “Qualifying Events”, they qualify to get insurance as soon as they enter the country. If they qualify, they are eligible to get insurance through the following sources:

  • Partner’s employer insurance,
  • Government U.S. Healthcare.gov marketplace,
  • State Marketplace
  • Medicaid,
  • Medicare, or
  • other government insurance.
  • Private insurance

Research which one is the best for you if you qualify for more than one.

Nevertheless, it takes a some time to sign up and have the insurance effective. You need to get your social security card. It takes time to process the social security application. Consequently,  it can take a few weeks to a couple of months to get insurance

In the mean time, one way to get coverage is to purchase immigrant health insurance for a short time.

In addition, immigrant health insurance may be better for you in the long term considering you other options.

Spouse and Parent Immigrant Heath Insurance Plan Options

Two of the best immigrant insurance options for green card holders are Inbound Immigrant and Green Cover.

Inbound Immigrant provides supplemental coverage for Green Cards holders 69 years and below. This insurance covers the visitors who are traveling to USA and provide travel and medical coverage while in the USA.

Inbound Immigrant insurance is a basic travel medical insurance plan that has fixed pre-defined limit for each medical service. Also, it is good for limited budget long-term immigrants. See the benefit that table shows how much the  for the insurance pays for a given covered medical service. You visit any doctor or hospital of your choice.

The policy is renewable up to 1,820 days (5 continuous and consecutive 364-day policy periods). However, the policy is not available for the residents of Colorado (CO), Maryland (MD), New York (NY), South Dakota (SD) & Washington (WA).

Green Cover is best suitable for Green Card holders above the age of 60. This is due to the higher level of coverage it provides and the long duration of coverage available.

It is a comprehensive health insurance for permanent residents, green card holders, or non US citizens, waiting for Medicare or not currently eligible for Medicare. It is not available to US citizen. The Green cover plan covers for 80% for first $10,000 and 100% thereafter up to the policy maximum. This temporary plan can be applied online and is similar to Medicare policy that comes in two parts. Part A includes Hospitalization Benefits and Part B includes Physician and Surgeon Benefits, Inpatient and Outpatient Care, Supplies, Therapy and Ambulance Services. Green Cover also includes International Travel coverage.

The policy is renewable and you can cancel at any time. However, the policy is also not available for the residents of Colorado (CO), Maryland (MD), New York (NY), South Dakota (SD) & Washington (WA).

For more information details, see our blog post, Immigrant Health Insurance- Select The Right Plan.


It is important to note that immigrant health insurance is short term in nature. Particularly, it is and used to cover any new and unexpected mishaps or conditions that arise after purchasing a policy. Eligibility and pricing for all plans are dependent on various factors such as duration of stay, destination country, citizenship country, age of the traveler, etc., and each plan has its own set of restrictions. Always read the policy documents in full before making a purchase.

All plans listed above are merely informative suggestions and may not work for all travelers.

While there are risks with traveling to the U.S., many of these risks are less by purchasing immigrant health insurance or travel insurance. Moreover, the risks are less for a plan specific to the immigrant type or travel requirement.