Immigrants and the Affordable Care Act's Health Care Marketplace

Authored By: Iowa Legal Aid LSC Funded
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Many families are not able to buy health insurance. This is because it is often too expensive. These families may be able to get help through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Many choices are available in the “health care marketplace.”

Immigrants and the Health CareMarketplace

Some households may have members with different immigration statuses.  Some household members are U.S. citizens. Some are immigrants who are authorized to be in the United States. And some members are in the U.S. without authorization.

  • The health care marketplace allows many authorized immigrants to buy health insurance for themselves and their dependents.
  • If an immigrant does not have authorization to be in the U.S., he or she can still buy insurance for family members who do have authorization to be in the U.S.
  • The premium tax credit may help pay for insurance for family members who are legally present.
  • An unauthorized immigrant cannot buy health insurance for him or herself on the marketplace.

Unauthorized immigrants still have the ability to get emergency Medicaid in some circumstances.

Personal Information May Be Requested

The ACA rules protect the personal information of people who apply. The rules also protect their family members. Personal information might include immigration status or social security numbers. The person applying should only give a valid social security number issued to them by the Social Security Administration. Families may get details and help applying at They may also call 1-800-318-2596. Navigators are people that are trained to help families and individuals sign up for health insurance through the marketplace.

An ACA navigator will ask for the social security number of the person applying for health insurance when:

  1. The family also applies for a tax credit to help with costs, AND
  2. The person who is applying is also the tax filer for the household.

Navigators and Personal Information

Some unauthorized immigrants may be afraid to go to the marketplace to buy health insurance for their family members. They should know:

  • The person applying for a family member does not need to provide personal information to a Navigator.
  • The person applying for the family member should only give the family member’s valid social security number.
  • No one has to answer questions about immigration status to a Navigator.
  • ACA navigators can only use personal information to find out if someone can buy health insurance through the marketplace.
  • Navigators cannot share anything with other government agencies or organizations.
  • The Department of Homeland Security said any personal information the ACA collects will not be used to deport people for civil immigration violations.

The ACA cannot discriminate against people based on race, language, or national origin.

Last Review 1/28/14

The IRS requires us to tell you any of the tax information in this article was not intended or written to be used and cannot be used to avoid penalties under the Internal Revenue Code.

  • This information is not a substitute for legal advice.

  • Although the clinic receives funds from the IRS, the
    clinic, its employees, and volunteers are not affiliated
    with the IRS and a taxpayer’s decision to utilize the
    services of the LITC will not affect the taxpayer’s
    rights before the IRS.


This information is not a substitute for legal advice.

Last Review and Update: Jan 28, 2014

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