Best Health Insurance for Immigrants

Updated on January 8, 2024

At a Glance

  • Consider these health insurance providers for immigrants in the United States: Aetna, Ambetter, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Kaiser Permanente, Oscar, and UnitedHealthcare.
  • These companies offer a variety of services, including individual and family plans, prescription drug coverage, nationwide networks, and programs to support new immigrants.
  • Each provider has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to evaluate factors such as provider networks, costs, and plan availability when choosing the right health insurance option.
  • Navigating the complex health insurance landscape in the United States is crucial for immigrants, ensuring access to essential health services based on residency status and unique needs.

Table of Contents

Best Health Insurance Providers for Immigrants

In the following section, we will explore some of the leading health insurance options available for immigrants in the United States. Navigating the complex health insurance landscape can be challenging, but understanding the eligibility criteria and key features of various plans can help immigrants access essential healthcare services. Let’s explore these options in detail.

1. Kaiser Permanente

★★★★★ 5.0

Network Size: 23,900 Physicians
Average Monthly Cost: $350 Silver
Average Annual Deductible: $4,500 per year


Get a quote

Overview

Kaiser Permanente is an integrated managed care system combining insurance plans, hospitals, and a large network of physicians into one coordinated healthcare system.

Services

  • Integrated system of healthcare providers
  • HMO and high-deductible health plan options
  • Routine and specialty care from Kaiser physicians
  • Prescription drug and pharmacy services

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Coordinated and convenient care
  • Emphasis on preventative and proactive medicine
  • Typically lower out-of-pocket costs

Cons

  • Restricted primarily to Kaiser’s network and facilities
  • Limited flexibility and plan choices

2. Blue Cross Blue Shield

★★★★★ 5.0

Network Size: 1.7 Million Providers
Average Monthly Cost: $350 Silver
Average Annual Deductible: $5,800 per year


Get a quote

Overview

Blue Cross Blue Shield is one of the most recognizable names in health insurance. Their plans vary across state lines but focus on choice and affordability.

Services

  • Individual and family health plans
  • Range of copays and deductibles
  • Prescription drug plans
  • Large coverage networks

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Accepted by most healthcare providers
  • Strong coverage nationally
  • Generic prescription benefits

Cons

  • Expensive premiums for extensive coverage
  • Availability of plans varies by state

3. United Healthcare

★★★★★ 4.5

Network Size: 1.5 Million Providers
Average Monthly Cost: $350 Silver, $275 Bronze
Average Annual Deductible: $1,000 – $8,700 per year


Get a quote

Overview

UnitedHealthcare offers a wide variety of health plans for employer-based, individual, Medicare and Medicaid coverage, with large customized networks.

Services

  • Employer-sponsored and individual plan options
  • Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription plans
  • Programs that support immigrant member needs
  • Access to one of the largest coverage networks

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Largest national provider network
  • Award-winning member tools and support programs
  • Plans available in all 50 states

Cons

  • High deductibles on some non-employer plans
  • Preauthorization required for certain services

4. Cigna

★★★★☆ 3.5

Network Size: Over 1.5 Million Providers
Average Monthly Cost: $275 Low Bronze, $425 Gold
Average Annual Deductible: $0 – $8,700 per year


Get a quote

Overview

Cigna is an international health services company offering health, dental, vision, and Medicare plans to customers globally and across the US. Their plans offer flexibility and a range of coverage tiers.

Services

  • Individual, family, and group health plans
  • Telehealth services and virtual care options
  • Vision and dental coverage available
  • Medicare Advantage and Part D plans

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Large nationwide coverage network
  • Strong maternity, dental, vision options
  • Variety of plan types and coverage tiers

Cons

  • Premiums can be higher than marketplace plans
  • Pre-authorization rules and referrals required for some plans

5. Oscar

★★★★☆ 3.5

Network Size: ~800 Hospitals
Average Monthly Cost: $300 Bronze
Average Annual Deductible: $8,150 per year


Get a quote

Overview

Oscar provides technology-focused health insurance plans sold directly to individuals and families, with a focus on transparency, member experience and virtual care options.

Services

  • Individual and family health insurance
  • Innovative mobile app and digital experience
  • Access to telemedicine andminute clinics
  • Coverage includes dental, vision and mental health

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Emphasis on technology and convenience
  • Affordable premiums and low deductibles
  • No restrictions on pre-existing conditions

Cons

  • Only available in 18 states currently
  • Provider networks can be more limited

6. Aetna

★★★☆☆ 3.0

Network Size: Over 1 Million Providers
Average Monthly Cost: $300 – $450 Silver, $200 Bronze
Average Annual Deductible: $0 – $8,700


Get a quote

Overview

Aetna is one of the largest health insurance providers in the U.S. They offer affordable plans including HMO, PPO, POS, and EPO options.

Services

  • Individual and family plans
  • Prescription drug coverage
  • Nationwide network of providers
  • Programs and help for new immigrants

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Large provider networks
  • Options for temporary visa holders
  • Translation services available

Cons

  • Primarily serves individuals who get insurance through employer
  • Limited plans in some states

7. Ambetter

★★★☆☆ 3.0

Network Size: N/A
Average Monthly Cost: $0 – $300 per month after subsidies
Average Annual Deductible: $1,000 – $14,000


Get a quote

Overview

Ambetter from Absolute Total Care focuses on providing affordable marketplace exchange plans under the Affordable Care Act.

Services

  • Marketplace insurance plans
  • $0 copays for preventative care
  • Prescription drug coverage
  • Vision and dental options

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Affordable premiums
  • Covers pre-existing conditions
  • No charge for preventative services

Cons

  • Only available in select states
  • Smaller provider network

Best Health Insurance for Immigrants Comparison

Insurance CompanyEligibilityAverage Monthly PremiumDeductible Range
AetnaUS Citizens & Legal Residents; Must live in plan area$300-$450 silver plan; $200 Bronze$0-$8,700 depending on plan metal level
AmbetterUS Citizens & Legal Residents; Income limits apply; Must live in coverage area$0-$300 per month after subsidies$1,000-$14,000 depending on plan
BlueCross BlueShieldUS Citizens & Legal Residents; Must live in plan service area$350 per month for silver plan$5,800 per year
CignaUS Citizens & Legal Residents; Must live in coverage area$275 low bronze plan; $425 gold plan$0-$8,700 depending on plan metal level
Kaiser PermanenteMust live in Kaiser coverage region$350 per month silver plan$4,500 per year
OscarUS Citizens & Legal Residents; Not available in all states$300 per month bronze plan$8,150 per year
UnitedHealthcareUS Citizens & Legal Residents; Must live in coverage area$350 per month silver plan; $275 per month bronze$1,000 - $8,700 per year depending on plan

Best Health Insurance for Immigrants Copay Comparison

Insurance CompanyDoctor Visit CopayHospital CopayPrescription Copay
AetnaPCP: $20-$50 Specialist:$50-$100$500-$2000 per admissionPreferred Generic: $10 Generic: $20 Brand: $50-90% coinsurance
Ambetter$45 PCP; $95 SpecialistDeductible then 30% coinsurance$20 generics; $50 preferred brand; 40% non-preferred
BlueCross BlueShield$35 PCP; $70 specialist30% after deductible up to $2,800$15 generics; $55 preferred brands; $85 non-preferred
CignaVariable - $30-$100Variable per admission - deductible & coinsurance applies$10 generics; $45 preferred brands; $85 non-preferred
Kaiser Permanente$40 office visit30% coinsurance after deductibleTier 1 generics: $15 Tier 2: $60 Tier 3 & 4: 30% coinsurance after $300 deductible per year
OscarPrimary care: $25 Specialist: $80 Mental health: $2540% coinsurance after deductibleGeneric: $3 Preferred brand: $50 Non-preferred brand: $100 Specialty: 40% coinsurance after deductible
UnitedHealthcareTier 1 PCP: $10 Tier 2 PCP: $50 Specialist: $100$500 per day up to $3k per admission$10 generics; $50 preferred brands; non-preferred & specialty 30% coinsurance

How to Choose a Healthcare Provider

Choosing health insurance can be daunting for anyone, but finding affordable, quality coverage poses extra challenges as an immigrant to the United States. When selecting a health plan, make sure to keep the following in mind:

Understand Your Options

New immigrants often qualify for Medicaid coverage options designed just for residents who have been in the country for less than 5 years. Depending on your state and income level, Medicaid can offer low-cost or even free healthcare. Check what public assistance programs you may be eligible for before considering other insurance plans.

Consider Marketplace Plans

Under the Affordable Care Act, legal immigrants have access to ACA health plans on the federal or state-based marketplaces. Policies on these state exchanges cannot deny or limit coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Shop and compare tiered coverage levels – catastrophic, bronze, silver, gold, and platinum plans balance premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pockets costs differently.

Prioritize Network Size and Services

Look closely if your current doctors are in-network for any plan you consider. Larger insurers tend to have expansive coverage networks – helpful for an immigrant with evolving healthcare needs. Also confirm if language services and translation support are accessible, to overcome potential language barriers.

Leverage Available Subsidies

Depending on household income, many immigrant families qualify for premium tax credits and subsidies when buying a marketplace plan. These can reduce monthly payments significantly. See if a navigators is available in your state to help determine eligibility.

Take Advantage of Technology

Insurers like Oscar, Bright Health and Clover Health focus on convenient apps, telehealth and streamlined digital experiences to make accessing healthcare easier for members. Digital self-service can help immigrants overcome transportation or language obstacles.

Final Thoughts

Navigating the health insurance landscape can be complex for immigrants in the United States. Understanding the eligibility criteria and features of various health insurance options is crucial for accessing essential healthcare services. Public programs like Medicaid and Medicare offer coverage for eligible individuals, while private insurance plans provide additional options. It’s important for immigrants to explore their eligibility, consider their healthcare needs, and seek assistance from community health centers, insurance brokers, and health advocates to find the best health insurance plan that suits their immigrant status and income. By having the right health insurance coverage, immigrants can ensure access to necessary medical treatment and maintain their overall health and well-being.

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do immigrants qualify for Medicaid or Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage?

Immigrants must have legal permanent resident status for 5 years before qualifying for Medicaid, CHIP, or ACA marketplace plans. Refugees, asylees, and other humanitarian immigrant statuses may qualify sooner for Medicaid coverage in certain states.

What health insurance options exist for undocumented immigrants?

Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for Medicaid, Medicare, and ACA plans, though some state and local programs provide coverage options. Less expensive private plans or health sharing ministries may be accessible. Community health centers provide primary care on an income-based sliding fee scale regardless of immigration status as well.

Where can immigrants find help enrolling in health insurance?

Many community health centers employ health insurance navigators to help immigrants understand public and private plan options and assist applying for programs they qualify for. Some nonprofit organizations and legal aid clinics also provide enrollment help.

What out-of-pocket costs do health insurance plans for immigrants have?

Private plans often have high monthly premiums, deductibles from $1,000 to $15,000+, copays for services, and prescription costs. Public plans like Medicaid have little to no premiums or healthcare copays and offer the most financial protection.

What basic health services do uninsured immigrants have access to?

All immigrants regardless of legal status can access community health centers providing primary and preventive care on sliding fee scales based on ability to pay. Public health departments also deliver essential services like infectious disease testing, treatment and vaccinations, maternal-child healthcare, etc. for free or very low cost.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 100,000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn more about finance, immigration, and more!
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Rohit Mittal

Rohit Mittal is the co-founder and CEO of Stilt. Rohit has extensive experience in credit risk analytics and data science. He spent years building credit risk and fraud models for top U.S. banks. In his current role, he defines the overall business strategy, leads debt and capital fundraising efforts, leads product development, and leads other customer-related aspects for the company. Stilt is backed by Y Combinator and has raised a total of $275M in debt and equity funding to date.