If you are a foreign national seeking residency in the U.S., you may be concerned about obtaining medical insurance to supplement the costs of care you might need while living here. If you meet specific criteria, you may be able to enroll in Medicare.
Medicare is a government health care program that is, in large part, funded through payroll taxes paid by employees and employers.
The program has a few plans that provide different types of coverage:
- Plan A (Hospital Insurance): inpatient hospital stays, hospice care, some home health services, and nursing home care
- Plan B (Medical Insurance): doctors’ visits, outpatient care, and some services not covered by Plan A
- Plan D (Prescription Drug Coverage): coverage for prescriptions
To be eligible for Medicare, you must be either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident 65 years of age or older. You must have also resided in the U.S. for 5 consecutive years immediately before enrolling. For example, if you were in the country for 4 years, spent a large part of one of those years living outside the U.S., and then came back and lived in the U.S. for 1 year, you would not be eligible to enroll in the program because your time here was interrupted with the time you spent outside of the country.
Premium Costs for Medicare Plans
Generally, you must purchase 1 or more of the plans, and each comes with its own monthly premium.
The cost for Plan A varies depending on how long you paid into Medicare taxes and if you are eligible for any other benefits. Citizens and permanent residents who worked in the U.S. for at least 10 years and are over 65, receive Plan A premium-free. This also applies if you are eligible for Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits.
If you are not eligible to receive the plan at no cost, you will have to pay a premium, and the monthly amount depends on how many quarters you paid into Medicare taxes.
Plan A premiums are as follows:
- Paid into Medicare less than 30 quarters: $437 per month
- Paid into Medicare for more than 30-39 quarters: $240 per month
For the most part, if you purchase Plan A, you will also have to purchase Plan B. Generally, you will pay the standard premium for Plan B, which is $135.50 per month. However, if your income is over a certain amount, the cost will increase. You can see the full schedule of premium costs by income on the Medicare site. You can purchase Plan B without also purchasing Plan A.
The cost for Plan D varies depending on your income and your filing status. You must pay your Plan D premium in addition to your costs for Plans A and B.
Penalties for Late Enrollment
You have a specific timeframe in which to purchase the plans, and if you don’t enroll by the deadline, you will be subject to a penalty. For Plan A, your monthly premium could increase by 10%. For Plans B and D, you will have to pay a late fee that may remain on your cost for as long as you have the plans.
Contact Robert Brown LLC for Legal Help
The procedures for applying for U.S. citizenship are quite complex. If you need assistance navigating the process, our team at Robert Brown LLC has the experience and knowledge to provide the guidance you need. We have helped individuals and families through the challenges of immigration law processes, and are ready to help you achieve your goals.
Schedule an appointment with our team by calling us at (216) 861-4414 or contacting us online.