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Obamacare and the sponsored immigrant?


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#1 John C

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 04:42 PM

So now that we must all have health insurance Jan 1 the curious question of where my mother in law fits in comes up.  By sponsoring her to come here last year we agreed not to let her be a ward of government handouts for a certain length of years.  She now has a full time job without benefits so we went to the exchange to see what she needs to do.  Answered all the questions honestly and bingo, they want to give her Medicaid based on her income.  But didn't we promise the taxpayers they won't be liable for her expenses?  She is a permanent alien resident with a ten year green card.  Seems like congress didn't think about her situation when they rushed this bill to law.  No one seems to know exactly how to handle her. 

 

JC







#2 Fritz

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 08:22 PM

Mother in Law is a legal US Resident, so the new law specifically includes her. Unfortunately, while the Medicaid rules now include categories of aliens who are exempt from the 5 year bar, it appears that Mother in Law is still barred from Medicaid until the 5 years of residence is completed.

From the IRS FAQ page on your tax liability if you cannot claim exemption from the "Individual Shared Responsibility Payment" payment

Basic Information
1. What is the individual shared responsibility provision?
Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government, state governments, insurers, employers and individuals are given shared responsibility to reform and improve the availability, quality and affordability of health insurance coverage in the United States. Starting in 2014, the individual shared responsibility provision calls for each individual to have minimum essential health coverage (known as minimum essential coverage) for each month, qualify for an exemption, or make a payment when filing his or her federal income tax return.
2. Who is subject to the individual shared responsibility provision?
The provision applies to individuals of all ages, including children. The adult or married couple who can claim a child or another individual as a dependent for federal income tax purposes is responsible for making the payment if the dependent does not have coverage or an exemption.

If the Health Marketplace website is only offering her Medicaid, then there is a definite problem with their system and you will need to contact them by telephone to explain that she is not eligible for Medicaid and requires another option.

If they insist that Medicaid is the only option then take that decision to the OHS and ask them how Mom can get an exemption to the 5 year bar.

The adventures continue
Fritz

Edited by Fritz, 02 November 2013 - 08:28 PM.

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know it when you see it and
have the good luck to get it
... and keep it!!!


#3 SeeSea

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 09:13 PM

Your mother is now a taxpayer.. In my opinion she is earning her Medicare.

It will be interesting to see how this pans out for your immigration system. I don't know much about US policies, but our healthcare in Canada leads to rules like sponsored parents have to buy their own healthcare, and all dependant family members must have a medical examination because for certain classes of immigrants like foreign workers, having a family member with a medical problem will render them inadmissable, since they could turn around and sponsor their family with health problems that would be a burden on the system.


#4 Fritz

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 12:51 PM

Seasea

Medicaid has a number of eligibility rules. One of them is "means test" which basically means if your income is below the limit you qualify for benefits. This eligibility rule in turn triggers the "5 year bar" in the Affidavit of Support contract where "means tested" benefits are specifically excluded for the new immigrant for a period of 5 years after gaining resident alien status. This gives a result similar to what you describe as sponsored parents not qualifying for national health service coverage for their first 5 years as a US resident. If they have a prior work history that gives them 40 quarters of qualifying (US Social Security) work history, then they would be eligible for Medicaid under a different rule that is not subject to the 5 year bar.

There are now categories of new immigrant that are exempt from the 5 year bar rule, but unfortunately Mother in Law does not qualify in any of the exempt classes.

The US system has the health check as part of the interview process. US excludes the individuals who are medically inadmissible while allowing the rest of the family to enter US if they are otherwise eligible for a visa.

The adventure continues
Fritz

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know it when you see it and
have the good luck to get it
... and keep it!!!


#5 John C

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 02:56 PM

I knew Medicaid was out of the question but the software at our state exchange doesn't know the right questions to ask to determine this.  Ultimately she will need to buy one of the plans available and will be subsidized almost entirely due to her low income.  Sort of  circumventing the spirit of the 5 year exclusion for Medicaid although any plan she gets will not be as inclusive as Medicaid from a coverage stand point.  It appears that the tax payers will indeed cover most of the cost of mother in law's health insurance.   Right now however the system is too muddled up to do anything but wait. 

 

JC







#6 Fritz

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 07:39 PM

Yep the Marketplace site went live before it was ready ... it is supposed to be fixed by end of November, mid-December at the latest. The PR people for the program are spinning the problem as minor since the new law doesn't make insurance a requirement until Jan 1, 2014.

The adventure continues
Fritz

May you find what you want in life,
know it when you see it and
have the good luck to get it
... and keep it!!!





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