Do Non-U.S. Citizens Have Access to Affordable Care Act Plans? Uncategorized

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), passed in 2010, has made comprehensive health care coverage available to millions of Americans who otherwise would not have been able to afford it. The ACA established a federal marketplace through which people who live in a state that chose not to set up a health insurance exchange can purchase coverage.

The ACA has also made health coverage more comprehensive by requiring that all plans issued after March 23, 2010 cover certain preventive services at no additional charge, as well as 10 essential health benefits, and the ACA bars insurance companies from denying people based on preexisting conditions.

What about those who are not American citizens? How are these individuals impacted by the ACA, and is coverage available to them?

The short answer is that individuals who are “lawfully present” in the United States are eligible for coverage under the ACA.1 Let’s explore what lawfully present means.

There are dozens of situations in which a person may be considered lawfully present in the U.S. Aside from being a U.S.-born citizen, these include, but are not limited to:

  • Naturalized Citizens –– This refers to individuals who have gone through the legal process of becoming a U.S. citizen.
  • Individuals with a “Green Card.”
  • Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) –– This refers to individuals who live and work permanently in the U.S. and may travel abroad and come back to the U.S. under certain conditions.
  • Persons Fleeing Persecution — Specific conditions apply.
  • Those Granted Refugee and Asylum Status — Specific conditions apply.
  • Those with Granted Withholding of Deportation or Withholding of Removal Status –– This refers to individuals whose lives or freedom would be threatened if they returned to their home country.
  • Cuban and Haitian Entrants –– Specific conditions apply.
  • Those Paroled into the U.S. — This refers to individuals who are permitted to enter the U.S. for humanitarian or public interest reasons.
  • Those Who Have Temporary Protected Status –– This refers to individuals who are present in the U.S. and whose countries are unsafe to return to, as designated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • Survivors of Domestic Violence, Trafficking, and Other Serious Crimes –– Under certain conditions, these individuals may be considered “qualified immigrants,” and therefore “lawfully present” in the U.S.

These represent many, but not all of the conditions under which a person may be considered “lawfully present” and therefore eligible for coverage through the ACA. Undocumented immigrants who are not designated as lawfully present are not eligible for coverage.

BenefitPackages is a certified insurance agency that has special permission to help people understand their eligibility for coverage and offer enrollment assistance in Covered California plans. Call us today to learn whether you qualify for an ACA plan.


  1. National Immigration Law Center, PDF, “”Lawfully Present” Individuals Eligible under the Affordable Care Act,” Sept. 2012, Accessed 18 Aug. 2014.