There are many public health insurance programs in New York, and most lawfully-present immigrants (including lawful permanent residents [green-card holders], refugees, asylees, victims of trafficking, victims of domestic abuse, individuals who have applied for asylum or for their green card, and many others) are eligible for them, if they also meet income and residency requirements. Undocumented immigrants may also be eligible for certain programs – for example, there are no immigration status restrictions for children’s health insurance in New York (Child Health Plus), or for Medicaid for pregnant women or low-income individuals who have experienced an emergency.
Immigrants are still much less likely to have health insurance than native citizens, however, due to lower rates of employer-sponsored insurance, restrictions in eligibility for public health insurance, language and cultural barriers, as well as unique immigrant concerns such as whether enrolling in public health insurance will affect an individual’s ability to adjust status to lawful permanent resident (public charge) or sponsor a relative, or whether an immigrant’s sponsor will be liable for the immigrants’ use of medical care.
Public health insurance eligibility rules can be complicated, but there are many places people can go for help with the application. See the documents and links on this page for more information about immigrant eligibility for public health insurance, unique immigrant concerns such as sponsor issues and public charge, and help with public health insurance applications.
- How and Where to Apply for Public Health Insurance (.pdf)
- Concerns Regarding Immigrants and Public Benefits (.pdf) (Click here for Translations)
- NYSDOH Medicaid Documentation Policy for Aliens presenting Expired “Green Cards” (.pdf)
- Documentation Guide to Citizenship and Immigrant Eligibility for Health Coverage in New York State (.pdf)
- Empire Justice Center’s Immigrant Eligibility for Publicly Funded Health Care Benefits Handbook (.pdf)