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As a K-1 visa holder I will be unemployable when I enter the United States, so I will need to purchase health insurance. I've found this topic surprisingly difficult to research, but from what I gather I simply find a plan that suits before I arrive and set the start date to the date of my arrival.

It seems unclear what information I'd need to provide (ssn, itin etc), and also how I might go about finding a plan (there seem to be a lot of sites to help in this, but I've no idea how to determine their legitimacy). Does anyone have any advice in this regard please?

  • As an asside, there seems to be a lot of choice regarding the amount of the coverage. Any advice regarding what might be a sensible amount for a healthy 27 year old would be greatly appreciated (I suffer from frequent migraines but I intend to ask a separate question about how that and the medication involved will effect my insurance). – Gary May 8 '14 at 22:43
  • you'll just have to shop around and compare prices. All the plans are now required to cover basic things, so it's just the question of premium vs. deductibles/copay. – littleadv May 9 '14 at 4:10
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    BTW: K-1 is not a long-stay visa. You must start I485 within 90 days of arrival. – littleadv May 9 '14 at 4:11
  • Sorry, what I meant was I'll be in the country for the long term. – Gary May 9 '14 at 8:34
  • That is exactly why travel insurance is not suitable for you. You get the same options as anyone else living in the US. – littleadv May 9 '14 at 8:44
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When can I get healthcare?

The K-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa so you should be covered under travel insurance until you get married and apply for Adjustment of Status.

Getting Healthcare

You can get healthcare using the marketplace from Healthcare.gov, however you can only use the Government marketplace after you apply for Adjustment of Status to LPR.

Or you may be eligible for Medicaid if you come from a low income family (in the USA, basically your fiancé/wife).

If you don't have minimal health insurance in the USA you may have to pay a fee. The minimum essential cover is:

The type of coverage an individual needs to have to meet the individual responsibility requirement under the Affordable Care Act. This includes individual market policies, job-based coverage, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, TRICARE and certain other coverage.

Documentation Required

As per the paper application for HealthCare.gov:

Before you begin, it may help to have this information ready:

  • Social Security numbers (SSNs)

  • Document numbers for eligible immigrants who want health coverage

  • Birth dates

  • Paystubs, W-2 forms, or other information about your family’s income

  • Policy/member numbers for any current health coverage

  • Information about any health coverage from a job that’s available to you or your family

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    "Lawful Temporary Resident", "Individual with Non-immigrant Status"... What are you talking about? Why only after applying for adjustment of status? – littleadv May 9 '14 at 4:02
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    Now that I'm rereading the answer, there are several more points that are totally off... K-1 by definition cannot get medicaid or any other government assistance coverage. Travel insurance will not cover K-1 since K-1 is not travel Travel insurance is only intended for short trips, and is based on the assumption that you only need emergency services and then get evacuated back home - that's not the case for the OP as he's emigrating to the US and will not go back to Australia if he has a flu. – littleadv May 9 '14 at 8:47
  • I never said Lawful Temporary Resident. I was quoting the people who could use the healthcare.Gov marketplace. If you see there he only would come under Adjustment of Status to an LPR. – Vagish May 9 '14 at 12:14
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    As I quoted - you're wrong on this. "Lawful temporary resident" was me quoting from healthcare.gov – littleadv May 9 '14 at 15:55
  • "however you can only use the Government marketplace after you apply for Adjustment of Status to LPR." Nope. You just have to be a resident alien for tax purposes. – user102008 May 9 '14 at 21:00
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If your spouse is employed, you'll just join his insurance. If your spouse isn't covered by any insurance - then you both go to the ObamaCare exchanges and buy coverage for both of you.

Not an issue at all.

The ObamaCare exchanges are run by states (some States decided their citizens shouldn't have healthcare, for those the exchange is run by the Federal government at healthcare.gov). Essentially anyone in any legal status and many in some illegal status are eligible for participating in the exchange, however you're not going to get any subsidies (i.e.: you'll pay full price).

Note, if you're going to live in a State that doesn't recognize same-sex couples, you'll have to get a separate policy.

  • Thank you again littleadv. We'll be in Florida for the first six months so I won't qualify for his plan. They have a federal exchange but I'll need to wait until I arrive to apply by the looks. I'll look into how long my travel insurance will cover me for now. – Gary May 9 '14 at 9:09

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