You know how important health insurance is. Having no health insurance exposes you to potentially significant hospital and doctor costs. If you don’t have a social security number, you may believe that you can’t obtain health insurance. That is not necessarily true. Health insurance is available. It will cover you in case of illness, accident, or a trip to the hospital. In this article, we discuss 3 health insurance options for people without a social security number.
Please be aware that we are taking limited requests for the undocumented immigrant market. We discuss this further in the article. If you are undocumented, please reach out to us via our contact us page. We will then send you an email/questionnaire. Only those who return the completed questionnaire and are serious about their health will receive assistance from us. We will help you the best we can.
It is important you read this article in its entirety. We receive many phone calls and requests from people who could have answered their questions just by reading this article.
Additionally, it is important to understand that health insurance might cost between $300 and $500 per month, more or less depending on your age and other factors. If you are not willing to commit to spending on your health, please contact someone else.
In this article we discuss:
- What Is The Affordable Care Act?
- What If I Am Not Lawfully Present?
- The 3 Options Available If You Don’t Have A Social
- Final Thoughts
Let’s level set and begin this discussion with the Affordable Care Act.
What Is The Affordable Care Act (ACA)?
You likely have heard of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Written into law in March of 2010, the ACA contains 3 goals:
- Make health insurance more available to consumers
- Expand the Medicaid system
- Create lower-cost modes of health care delivery
It also created a set of required provisions. If a carrier wants to market and sell an ACA plan to consumers, the carrier must cover:
- pre-existing conditions
- pregnancy and childbirth services
- pediatric dentistry
The ACA contains additional provisions as well.
Not everyone qualifies for an ACA plan. In order to qualify you:
- Must reside in the US
- Are lawfully presented
- Are not incarcerated
The states created online health exchanges for qualified individuals to purchase a plan. In order to purchase an ACA health insurance policy, you must have a lawful presence. This means you are a:
1 – US citizen,
2 – US National, or
3 – Lawfully present immigrant (on VISA or some other accepted form), or
4 – Specific, protected immigrants such as refugees from identified countries
You can find out about immigration status and forms on the healthcare.gov website. Undocumented immigrants are not eligible to buy an ACA health insurance policy.
What If I Am A US Citizen, But I Don’t Have A Social Security Number? Can I Purchase Health Insurance?
We receive a few phone calls every year from Americans who were born in the United States, but for one reason or another, they do not have a social security number. They ask if they can purchase health insurance.
Unfortunately, I do not have a defined answer. As I said to these people, because you are a US citizen, not having a social should not preclude you from an ACA plan. You are lawfully present; you just don’t have a social for your own reasons.
As I tell these people, you should contact your state’s health insurance exchange to find out more.
However, the plans we describe below are available to you. As you will read, however, these plans do not possess the ACA protections. They are still solid options, but just don’t have the same requirements or protections as the ACA has.
What If I Am Not Lawfully Present?
Lawfully present status is a key component of ACA plan eligibility. If you are not considered lawfully present, then you cannot purchase an ACA health insurance policy. In other words, you are undocumented. However, that does not mean, in our opinion, that you cannot purchase health insurance for yourself and your family. You can. You just can’t purchase an ACA health insurance plan.
Even if you are an immigrant with a social security number, you may not be lawfully present. This can occur if you were lawfully present at one point, then for one reason or another, you overstayed your VISA or work authorization. Although you have a social security number, you are not lawfully present and ineligible for an ACA plan.
However, as we discussed, health insurance is available. The options just don’t follow the ACA guidelines. We discuss these options next.
3 Health Insurance Options For People Without A Social Security Number
Here are the health insurance options if you do not have a social security number.
Some options might be better than others.
Before we get into the options, it is important to note the following. This is extremely important.
These plans typically:
- Don’t have prescription insurance, but utilize a prescription discount card. These seem to work just fine for generic drugs. You can also utilize the Clever Rx discount card, which I use for my own family and like a lot.
- Don’t cover pregnancy or child birth
- Have limited coverage for pre-existing conditions
- May have waiting periods for certain situations like tonsil surgery
- May exclude certain situations as well
- Have limited preventative care benefits
It is important to read the exclusions and limitations of the plan.
Please also note that not every state allows these alternative health plans sold to their residents. These states include, but not limited to:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- New Jersey
- New York
- Washington state
- New Mexico
These states usually do not allow alternative health insurance. However, Maine, California, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania offer indemnity insurance, which we discuss next. This list is always subject to change. Of course, you can always reach out to us if you have any questions.
First Option – Indemnity Plan
The first option is an indemnity insurance plan. What is an indemnity insurance plan? It is insurance that pays you a fixed dollar benefit for a given service. For example, if you go to the doctor for a checkup, the indemnity plan might pay $100 towards that visit and nothing more.
Like any insurance, there are advantages and disadvantages.
With indemnity insurance, you can go to any doctor you like. Although the carriers we work with have networks which will save you more money, you have the freedom to choose.
They also don’t usually have deductibles. The deductible is a major source of “pain” (no pun intended) for many families. The deductible is the amount of money you have to pay out of pocket BEFORE the insurance pays its share. With indemnity plans, you have first-dollar benefits.
A disadvantage is what the plan dollar benefit pays, that is what the provider gets. The provider can charge you more, which you will have to pay out of pocket. Think of the dollar benefit as a “budget”. If you know the plan will pay, say $200 for a service, what should you do? Well, you should negotiate with the provider or find a cheaper place to bring your business.
Thankfully, the carriers we work with all have value-added services that help you manage that. However, you need to know that you yourself will be the “negotiator” for your health insurance costs.
All of these plans cover doctor visits and hospital stays. The more benefits you want – which I would recommend because this IS protecting you against any significant health care costs – the higher the premium.
Requirements To Apply For An Indemnity Plan
Indemnity insurance plans do not coordinate with other insurance. So, you can “stack” additional insurances to develop a complete plan.
You do need a tax ID number, also known as an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to apply. We have discussed this before if you need life insurance and don’t have a social security number. If you have an ITIN, you can get health insurance with most indemnity carriers.
You also need to answer a health questionnaire. Usually, these carriers do not cover pre-existing conditions for 12 months. On the 13th month, however, the condition is then covered.
Additionally, if you have a moderate-to-severe health condition, the carrier may not cover the condition at all or decline your application.
The premiums on these plans are usually 50% less than that of an ACA/exchange plan. They work well for those people who want more control of their healthcare options, expenses, and cost management.
Over time, these plans can save you money. As an aside, many US citizens are gravitating towards this type of insurance as health insurance out-of-pocket costs continue to skyrocket.
If you are interested in this type of insurance, it does require education to understand. Please contact us if you have any questions.
Second Option – Short-Term Medical Policy
You have another option. You can apply for a short-term medical policy. What is a short-term medical policy? It is a policy designed to last less than 12 months, although, depending on your state, many states allow up to 3 years of coverage.
These plans generally exclude pre-existing conditions. Obviously, any health conditions diagnosed or treated during the term ARE covered.
What happens at the end of the term? That is a great question.
You have to reapply. That means if you are diagnosed with a major illness or accident during this timeframe, you probably won’t be covered in the future. This is an important consideration you must understand.
You may be thinking you will be subject to underwriting and pre-existing conditions when you reapply. Generally, that is the case.
What do these short-term medical plans cover? Well, just about everything, including:
(1) Doctor visits and hospital stays
(2) ER visits and ambulance service
(3) Laboratory work, imaging
(4) Diagnostic testing, cancer screening
(5) Much more
Some services are not covered. We discuss those below.
Premiums are about 20% less than comparative major medical policies and about 50% less out-of-pocket costs (i.e. deductibles, copays, coinsurance).
Again, these policies do not meet the requirements of the ACA.
Short-term medical plans usually do not require an ITIN. Usually, the only requirement is that you reside in the United States. This is a health insurance plan that doesn’t require people to have a social security number.
These plans work well if you are marrying a non-US citizen. When your spouse receives his or her green card, he or she can then pivot to an ACA plan.
Requirements To Apply For A Short-Term Medical Plan
The requirements are similar to that of an indemnity plan.
However, usually, no ITIN or social is required on the application.
Additionally, some carriers have a minimum residency requirement of 12 months. In other words, you have to have lived in the US for 12 months continuously to apply. Other carriers don’t have this requirement.
Finally, there is a health questionnaire to answer as well. As we stated, if you have any chronic or severe health condition, carriers likely will decline your application.
Services Not Covered – IMPORTANT
Since these plans do not follow ACA guidelines, there are some services which are not covered. We have addressed these situations before in the article, but they bear repeating. These services include, but are not limited to:
(1) prescription drugs – we offer a separate prescription drug insurance plan or a discount prescription drug plan
(2) normal pregnancy – so if you are looking for pregnancy or childbirth coverage, this policy WON’T pay
(3) pre-existing conditions – usually a 12-month lookback period for any health conditions. As we said, on the 13th month, conditions are covered unless the carrier specifically says they don’t or specifically exclude them from coverage.
Each option has specific exclusions as well. (Note: for transparency, we go over these exclusions.)
Underwriting is a requirement with these options. Usually, the underwriting process is a health questionnaire.
Please be aware that you will have out-of-pocket costs with either plan – all health insurance plans have some type of cost-sharing.
Third Option – Temporary Travel Medical Insurance
If you have a VISA or will soon obtain a VISA, temporary travel medical insurance works as well. We work with all the major carriers here. There are options for every state. However, this is available for people with VISAs. Why? If you submit a claim, your VISA is supporting documentation and proves your lawful presence in the US.
However, travel medical insurance is temporary. Moreover, carriers explicitly state they do not cover chronic or pre-existing medical conditions.
Final Thoughts For Health Insurance For People Without A Social Security Number
We hope that you now know you can get health insurance even if you don’t have a social security number.
As we discussed, the options include:
- Indemnity plan
- Short-term medical insurance
- Temporary travel medical insurance
We’d like to work with you. We have helped many individuals who have contacted us before.
But, here is the thing: We only work with people who are serious about their healthcare. It can be very time-consuming for us when people don’t have an interest in helping themselves or family. As I mentioned, if you are NOT serious or NOT ready to spends $300 to $500 per month – could be more or less, depending on your situation – then do not contact us.
If you are serious about health insurance, then contact us. We would love to work with you. You can use the form below, too.
However, if you are fishing to get some information, there is an easier way. Just go onto any of the websites for alternative health insurance to find what you need. Or, just email us. We would be happy to help, and are serious about helping you, but only if you are serious about helping yourself and family, too.
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