Health Insurance

Healthcare in the U.S. is very expensive, therefore health insurance is critical. Upon arrival in the U.S., you should obtain health insurance as soon as possible. This page describes health insurance options available to Ukrainians.

Free Health Insurance for Low-Income Residents

Eligibility for Medicaid and RMA

Ukrainians admitted in the United States on humanitarian parole, including the Uniting for Ukraine program, who do not have any income or have very low income, are eligible for government-funded free health insurance.

Most low-income Ukrainian parolees will be eligible for health insurance for low-income residents called Medicaid. Some states limit Medicaid eligibility to certain groups of people, such as children, pregnant, elderly or disabled people. If you live in one of those states and are not eligible for Medicaid, but have no or low income, you can get Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA) insurance available to refugees or humanitarian parolees ineligible for Medicaid. It provides the same or similar coverage as Medicaid but is given only for the first 12 month after arrival.

The upper income threshold for Medicaid/RMA varies by state. In most states, it is 138% of federal poverty level for adults, and higher for children.

In some states, Medicaid health insurance has different names. For example, in California, it is called Medi-Cal, and in Washington state – Apple Health.

Medicaid Coverage

Medicaid insurance covers all necessary medical services, including routine doctor visits, urgent care visits, emergency room visits, treatment of chronic conditions, diagnostic procedures, surgeries and hospitalization, labor and delivery and prescription medication. All these services are covered at no cost to you. Coverage of dental and vision services varies by state.

Medicaid Health Plans

Medicaid insurance services are administered by private insurance companies, often the same ones the sell private insurance plans. That’s why after your Medicaid application is approved, you will need to enroll in a specific health plan. If your county has multiple Medicaid health plans, you will be allowed to choose one, and if there is only one available plan, you will be enrolled in it automatically. Once you are enrolled in a plan, you will receive a plan card with your member ID, and will be able to use the plan website to find a doctor/clinic, order necessary medical services, etc.

PCP Requirement

Medicaid health plans often require you to have an assigned primary care physician (PCP) – your family doctor or pediatrician for children, who is your first go-to person with any new medical problem. In order to see a specialist or get a medical procedure done, you need a referral from your PCP. If your plan requires PCP referrals, make sure you choose a PCP you like who is geographically close and has reasonable availability.

Emergency Medicaid

Every low-income United States resident is eligible for Emergency Medicaid – health insurance for emergencies, such as if you suddenly experience a critical health issue, are hospitalized or need to undergo an unplanned surgery. Emergency Medicaid also covers labor and delivery.

There is no immigration status limitation for Emergency Medicaid, even illegal immigrants are eligible. The only requirements are to be a resident of the U.S., as opposed to a tourist, and to have low income consistent with general Medicaid eligibility requirements. If you satisfy these conditions and have to visit an emergency room or are hospitalized while not having health insurance, ask the hospital to fill out an application for Emergency Medicaid to have your emergency treatment covered.

Low-income Ukrainians in Temporary Protected Status without underlying humanitarian parole (for example, those who arrived on a visitor visa) are generally only eligible for emergency Medicaid coverage. Some states extend eligibility for full Medicaid to certain categories of TPS holders and even to B1/B2 visa holders. Inquire at your county social services agency.

Private Health Plans

If you 

  • arrived in the U.S. on humanitarian parole (including the Uniting for Ukraine program), 
  • have been granted TPS, or 
  • are seeking asylum and have been granted employment authorization, 

you are eligible to buy a full-coverage health insurance plan through the U.S. health insurance marketplace. 

Health insurance plans vary by state. If you move from one state to another, you typically need to enroll into a new health insurance plan, and coverage under your old plan will cease.

The U.S. has a central virtual health insurance marketplace available at HealthCare.gov where people can purchase a health plan or apply for Medicaid. Some states do not use HealthCare.gov, but run their own local health insurance marketplaces available via dedicated websites. 

If you are staying in the U.S. on a B1/B2 visa, you are not eligible for buying health insurance through a marketplace or getting Medicaid. You may buy visitor insurance which provides emergency coverage of accidents and sudden illness onsets.

State-by-State Information

California

Read information for California –> 

Washington

In Washington, health plans are purchased on HealthPlanFinder.org marketplace.

​Low-income Ukrainian immigrants are placed on the Alien Emergency Medical (AEM) plan which covers emergency services,  cancer and dialysis treatments and anti-rejection medication for organ transplant. In addition, the following categories of immigrants get enhanced coverage:

  • Seniors and persons who are blind or disabled may be eligible for a limited medical care services program;
  • Prenatal care and 12 months of post-partum care is available  regardless of immigration status;
  • Children in households with income below 215% FPL are eligible for medical coverage without a share of cost, regardless of their immigration status. Monthly premiums are required for children in families earning between 215% and 317% FPL. 

The state also offers subsidized private health insurance plans for low-income residents who are not eligible for AEM.


Kaiser Permanente

California, Colorado, D.C., Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, Washington

Kaiser Permanente is a medical insurance company and a network of clinics that you can use in some states if you have Medicaid. You can get medical care there immediately on arrival: get a member id, which then gets connected to Medicaid.