When an immigrant gains permanent residency within the United States and receives authorization to live and work there, they also become eligible for a number of the benefits given to people who are born in the country. Many immigrants receive Social Security after they have retired, while some can even get federally funded financial assistance for college. However, a significant number of immigrants are experiencing difficulty gaining some of the healthcare benefits that are subsidized by the government, especially Medicare.
Medicare is a needs-based program that is not normally available to holders of green cards. Nonetheless, some immigrants who have achieved permanent residency can, depending on their location, be eligible for it. The program is run by a collaboration of federal and state governments and is available for people aged 65 or over. Green card holders are able to submit an application for this healthcare coverage once they have been working for ten full years or 40 quarters in total. Those who reach the age of 65 but lack the work history may still be able to buy into the program.
Despite this there are a number of people who have green cards who are being refused access to Medicare coverage as a consequence of Obamacare, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act.
The new law is supposed to ensure higher quality and more affordable healthcare for Americans, while also forcing the uninsured to seek coverage through the marketplace, making it less likely for Medicare agencies to approve their applications. Green card holders who cannot afford marketplace plans can however still apply for a federal subsidy.