Are Immigrants Eligible for Medicaid in Maryland? A Guide

Are immigrants eligible for Medicaid in Maryland?

There’s a lot of confusion about immigration status and Medicaid eligibility. The complex rules and requirements can be overwhelming, leaving immigrants and their loved ones unsure about their options for accessing essential healthcare services.

At PathFinder Law Group, we frequently hear the question, “Are immigrants eligible for Medicaid in Maryland?”

In this article, we’ll explore Medicaid eligibility and specific immigration status, providing you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about your healthcare coverage.

Brief Medicaid Overview

Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides healthcare coverage to millions of Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. In Maryland, Medicaid is administered by the Maryland Department of Health and offers a range of services.

Community Medicaid vs. Long-Term Care Medicaid

Medicaid is an umbrella term; there are 2 types of Medicaid: Community and Long-Term care Medicaid.

  • Community Medicaid: Services for people living in the community, such as doctor visits, hospital stays, and preventive care.
  • Long-Term Care Medicaid: Services for people who need ongoing care in a nursing home or other facility.

Medicaid Type and Immigration Status

In Maryland, the eligibility criteria for Medicaid are not explicitly differentiated by program (Community vs. Long-Term Care Medicaid) based on immigration status. However, the application process for long-term care can involve more detailed scrutiny of all eligibility criteria, including immigration status-related documentation.

At PathFinder Law Group, we deal with Long-Term Care Medicaid. We understand the unique challenges of securing the care you or your loved ones need, and we’re here to guide you every step of the way.

Are Immigrants Eligible for Medicaid in Maryland? Immigration Status and Medicaid Eligibility

So, are immigrants eligible for Medicaid in Maryland? The answer: it depends. In Maryland, eligibility for immigrants varies by immigration status.

U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs)

If you’re a U.S. citizen, including those who have obtained citizenship through naturalization, you’re eligible for Medicaid as long as you meet the other Medicaid eligibility requirements, such as income and asset guidelines.

Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs)—AKA green card holders—are generally eligible for Medicaid, but must wait for five years after obtaining their LPR status before they can enroll, unless they meet certain exemptions (such as receiving disability benefits or for children and pregnant women).

Refugees, Asylees, and other Humanitarian Immigrants

Refugees, asylees, and other humanitarian immigrants—such as those granted withholding of deportation or removal—are typically eligible for Medicaid without the five-year waiting period.

These individuals can generally access Medicaid benefits from the date they are granted their qualifying immigration status.

Non-Citizens with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

If you have Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or are a beneficiary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), you are generally not eligible for Medicaid.

However, Maryland has specific exceptions and programs that may provide coverage—such as having a work permit allowing you to be classified under an eligible status.

Undocumented Immigrants

Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for Medicaid coverage. However, they may be able to receive emergency Medicaid for life-threatening situations, such as labor and delivery or treatment for severe accidents.

It’s important to note that receiving emergency Medicaid does not provide comprehensive health coverage and is only available in rare circumstances.

Immigration Status: Rules and Exceptions in Maryland

Exceptions to the 5-Year Waiting Period

Lawfully residing immigrant children under 21 and pregnant women can access Medicaid without being subject to the five-year waiting period. So, if you’re a lawfully residing immigrant child or pregnant woman, you can enroll in Medicaid as long as you meet the other eligibility requirements—regardless of how long you’ve had your qualifying immigration status.

Emergency Medicaid for Undocumented Immigrants

For undocumented immigrants and non-citizens who don’t meet the qualified immigrant criteria, Maryland provides emergency Medicaid coverage. This coverage is limited to life-threatening conditions, such as labor and delivery.

Maryland Children’s Health Program (MCHP)

MCHP is a state-funded program that provides health coverage to low-income children who don’t qualify for Medicaid due to immigration status.  If your child isn’t eligible for Medicaid, MCHP may be a valuable alternative. Note that MCHP has income eligibility requirements and may necessitate a monthly premium.

Addressing Fears, Concerns, and Misconceptions

Will Seeking Medicaid Affect My Immigration Status?

Another concern we often hear when someone asks “Are immigrants eligible for Medicaid in Maryland?” is: “Will seeking Medicaid affect my immigration status?” The answer is: most likely it will not. Applying for or receiving Medicaid does not automatically jeopardize your immigration status.

Public Charge

The concept of “public charge” is often misunderstood. It refers to someone likely to become primarily dependent on government assistance for their living expenses. While receiving Medicaid benefits can be one factor considered in determining if someone is a public charge, it’s not the only factor. The government also looks at your age, health, education, and financial situation.

Can I Still Apply for Medicaid If I Don’t Have a Social Security Number (SSN)?

In Maryland, you don’t need an SSN to apply for Medicaid. Certain immigrant categories—such as refugees, asylees, lawfully residing children, and pregnant women—can apply for Medicaid without an SSN.

Alternatives to Medicaid for Immigrants

If you’re an immigrant in Maryland and not eligible for Medicaid, you do have options:

  • Employer-sponsored insurance
  • Private health insurance via Maryland Health Connection.
  • Community health centers and clinics, such as:
    • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)
    • Migrant Health Centers
    • Free Clinics

To find a community health center or clinic near you, visit the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission website.

How the Elder Law and Medicaid Attorneys at PathFinder Law Group Can Help

Elder law and Medicaid attorneys specialize in helping seniors and their families with a wide range of legal issues, including Medicaid planning, asset protection, and long-term care.

We can help you understand the eligibility requirements for Medicaid, including any specific rules that apply to immigrants in Maryland. We also assist you with the application process, certifying that all necessary documentation is provided and that your application is submitted correctly.

We help immigrant seniors and their families develop strategies to protect their assets—while still qualifying for Medicaid. Let us guide you through the process of planning for long-term care, whether that means exploring options for in-home care, assisted living, or nursing home care.

Key Takeaways

  • Medicaid eligibility for immigrants in Maryland depends on factors such as immigration status, length of residency, and income.
  • U.S. citizens, including naturalized citizens, are eligible for Medicaid if they meet other program requirements.
  • Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) may be eligible for Medicaid after a five-year waiting period, with some exceptions.
  • Refugees, asylees, and certain other humanitarian immigrants are generally eligible for Medicaid without the five-year waiting period.
  • Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for full Medicaid coverage but may receive emergency Medicaid for life-threatening situations.
  • Speak to a Medicaid and elder law attorney to understand your unique situation and ensure you receive the care and support you need.

Contact PathFinder Law Group Today

To start creating your Medicaid plan today, or if you have more questions about “Are immigrants eligible for Medicaid in Maryland” schedule a risk-free consultation or call us at (443) 579-4529.

About Adam Zimmerman

Adam Zimmerman is known for his unique ability to put people at ease. Within minutes of meeting Adam, his clients realize he is not the stereotypical attorney and is genuinely invested in helping them through their life situations. He is committed to empowering his clients to be decision makers in the process, so they are knowledgeable about the course of action they decide over their affairs.