You know how important health insurance is. Without health insurance, you could seriously face 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. Honestly, it’s not the best health insurance. However, it will cover you in case of illness, accident, or a trip to the hospital. In this article, we discuss health insurance for people without a social security number.
Please be aware that we are no longer supporting health insurance in the undocumented immigrant market. If you are undocumented, please reach out to a short-term medical carrier as this is likely your only option. If you have VISA, we can help.
Affordable Care Act (ACA) Health Insurance Exchanges
In order to purchase a health insurance policy off the health insurance exchanges, you must be lawfully present. 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 immigrant 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 health insurance off the exchanges.
What If I Am Not Lawfully Present?
If you are not considered lawfully present, then you can’t purchase a health insurance policy off the exchanges. In other words, you are undocumented. However, that does not mean, in our opinion, that you cannot purchase health insurance for you and your family. You can. You just can’t purchase an ACA health insurance.
However, we are no longer in the undocumented immigrant market. If you would like health insurance, please give a short-term insurance carrier a call and see if it is available in your state.
Health Insurance For People Without A Social Security Number
If you are lawfully present in the United States, you have a few options. We list them below.
First Option – Indemnity Plan
The first option is an indemnity insurance plan with a minimum essential coverage (MEC) policy to meet the individual mandate of the ACA. Indemnity insurance plans do not coordinate with other insurance. You have the option of assigning any benefits to the provider or to yourself. If you assign the benefits to yourself, you can do whatever you want with the money.
The MEC policy provides coverage for preventative care so you meet the individual mandate of the ACA. Preventative care includes screenings, vaccinations, etc.
Available indemnity insurances include a fixed benefit plan which will pay for any hospital stays, critical illnesses, and accidents.
You do need a tax ID number, also known as an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). 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 carriers. You may not be able to obtain health insurance off the exchange, but you will with some of the carriers we work with.
An ITIN doesn’t look at immigration status. It simply provides a way for you to pay your taxes. Nearly all carriers will require some form of identification, and an ITIN qualifies in some cases.
You can read that ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status.
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.
This isn’t a very popular option although, over time, it can save you money. As an aside, many US citizens are gravitating towards this type of insurance as health insurance costs continue to skyrocket.
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. 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. With one carrier we work with, that isn’t. Pre-existing conditions are attached to your initial application. But, upon renewal, any health conditions will be considered for future applications! That means you’ll be declined if you have any severe health conditions.
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).
These policies do not meet the minimum essential coverage (MEC) of the ACA. As such, you may need to purchase a separate MEC policy to meet the individual mandate 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.
Services Not Covered – IMPORTANT
Since these plans do not follow ACA/Obamacare plans, there are some services which are not covered. 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 coverage, this policy WON’T pay
(3) pre-existing conditions – usually a 12-month lookback period
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 and a phone interview.
Please be aware that you will have out-of-pocket costs with either plan – all health insurance plans have some type of cost-sharing.
Also, please be advised these plans are not eligible in all states. For example: California, New York, and other states do not allow these products. Also, please be aware that people age 65 and older likely do not qualify. Contact us to find out. We would be happy to help.
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 legal residence in the US.
Worried that you don’t have a social security number? You can still obtain health insurance. One option is an indemnity plan and the other option is a short-term medical plan. You could also purchase temporary medical insurance. Which is right for you? That depends on your needs and situation. We have generally exited this line of work, but if you would like to learn more, feel free to reach out to us. We only work with people who are serious about their healthcare. If you are serious, then contact us. 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. We would be happy to help, and are serious about helping you, but only if you are serious about helping yourself, too.