Are Medicare Health Plans Available To Non-U.S. Citizens?

Options and costs for non-U.S. citizens seeking Medicare health plans.

Yes, Medicare health plans are available for certain non-U.S. citizens. Medicare is a federal benefit program for individuals age 65 and older and those with certain disabilities or end-stage kidney disease. Medicare coverage is divided into four parts: Part A (Hospital Insurance), Part B (Medical Insurance), Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage). The program is funded through taxes paid by employees and employers as well as premium payments made by Medicare participants. Non-U.S. citizens are eligible for Medicare health plans if they are permanent legal residents of the United States and have lived in the country for five continuous years.

Options And Costs

Legal residents are eligible for free coverage under Part A if they or their spouses paid Medicare taxes for a minimum of ten years. If a legal resident did not make the minimum number of payments, the resident is still eligible for Part A but must make premium payments for the coverage. Legal residents are also eligible for Part B but must make premium payments for the coverage, regardless of any Medicare taxes paid. Legal residents also have the option to receive their Part A and B coverage through Part C Medicare health plans, which are typically health maintenance organizations. Depending on the insurer chosen for Part C, the individual may receive benefit coverage greater than that offered through Parts A and B in exchange for using a limited network of health providers. Legal residents can also choose to enroll in prescription drug coverage under Part D but must make premium payments. Legal residents can also receive their Part D coverage through a Part C insurer.

Enrollment In Medicare Health Plans

If a legal resident is receiving Social Security benefits prior to eligibility for Medicare, the Social Security Administration will automatically enroll the individual in Medicare. If the legal resident is not receiving Social Security, then the resident needs to submit a Medicare application to the Social Security Administration.

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