Health Insurance & Open Enrollment Facts

In the US, enrollment for health insurance for 2018 is held from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017. This is a narrow deadline, so make sure you sign up for health insurance as soon as you can. After 12/15/2017, you can enroll or change plans only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

Where to Sign Up: Enroll in health insurance based on your area of residence

DC       DC Health link                             

MD       Maryland Health Connection

VA        Healthcare.Gov                          

If you’re not sure, please go to:            

How to Choose a Plan:  Choose an individual plan or family plan based on you and your family’s needs. Each plan can have a different premium, deductible, and co-pay.

A premium is the amount of money you pay for the plan in a year.

A deductible is the amount of money you pay out of pocket before your insurance plan starts working.

A co-pay is the amount of money you pay out of pocket for each doctor visit. Some plans have no co-pay. Other plans can have small co-pays for primary care visits, and a bit more for specialists.

Ex: Your plan may cost $2500 per year with a $500 deductible. This means you pay $2500 year for the plan itself. Then if you visit doctors, you must pay up to $500 for the medical services before your insurance then covers the rest of your costs. You may have a $10 co-pay for primary care visits, and $20 co-pay to see a specialist doctor.

You May be Eligible for Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP/ called MCHP in MD)

Medicaid is health insurance funded by the government to help low-income families access quality healthcare. It covers doctor visits, pregnancy care, prescription drugs, hospital and emergency services, and more, at little to no cost. To apply for Medicaid, all you need to provide is your name, family household size, income, a paystub (if you work), and documents proving your immigration status.

Applicants for asylum are eligible for Marketplace coverage or Medicaid only if they’ve been granted employment authorization (employment authorization card, I-766) or are under the age of 14 and have had an application pending for at least 180 days.

There’s no limited enrollment period for Medicaid or CHIP. If you qualify, coverage can begin immediately, any time of year. The maximum income for qualification to Medicaid differs by state. If you don’t know whether your income qualifies you for Medicaid, we encourage you to still apply. Please visit your state’s links (given above) to review income maximums and apply for Medicaid. Apply now to see if you or your family qualifies for Medicaid and/or CHIP.

The following groups may be eligible for Medicaid and CHIP:

  • Qualified Immigrants exempt from 5-year waiting period
  • Refugees, Asylum Applicants, Cuban/Haitian entrants, Trafficking Victims, Veteran families       
  • Qualified Immigrants who reach end of 5 year waiting period
  • Lawful Permanent Residents/green card holders                                                
  • *Lawfully permanent residents who are pregnant women, children under 21 years old, or used to be refugees or asylees are not subject to the 5-year requirement

For more information about the documents needed to apply go to:

Applying for Medicaid or CHIP will not affect your chances of becoming a Green Card holder or US citizen. According to “Use of coverage obtained through the Marketplace or insurance affordability programs won’t affect a person who’s in the process of becoming a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) and won’t be considered a public charge. A public charge is an individual who is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.”