Medicare for Green Card Holders

Medicare for green card holders is possible. Those with a green card may be curious about Medicare eligibility. Well, if you’ve been a resident of the United States for at least five years, you may be eligible. Understanding how Medicare works for non-citizens is important. Here you’ll learn when you qualify, how to apply, and everything else in between.

Do Green Cardholders Qualify for Medicare?

Green card applicants can qualify for Medicare without enough work credits. But, you’ll likely need to pay for Part A premiums. Since Part A costs are based on how long you’ve worked in the United States and paid taxes towards Medicare, costs could vary.

Those that have worked a minimum of ten years could qualify for premium-free Part A. Now, Part B is a little different. You’re costs depend on how much you make each year. High-income earners will pay a Part B IRMAA. Also, if you’re eligible for Medicare and delay enrollment, penalties could raise the cost of your premiums if you enroll later on.

When Can a Green Card Holder Apply for Medicare?

You must have established residency for at least five years. Once you have residency status, you qualify for Medicare just like any other person. Thus, by turning 65 or obtaining Social Security Disability for at least 24 months.

How to Apply for Medicare for Green Card Holders

Everyone applies for Medicare the same, through Social Security. The process is the same for citizens as permanent residents. Once you have Medicare, you’ll want to consider options like Medigap or Medicare Part C plans. Then, you’ll want to buy a Medicare Part D plan to avoid potential late penalties.

How Do I find Medicare for My Green Card Parents?

Medicare is available to those that qualify. If your parents have been permanent residents for at least five years, they may be eligible.

Your parents will get Medicare separately, so your mom would need to be eligible on her own terms. And, your dad would need to be eligible on his own terms. Now, if one parent submits enough work hours for Premium free Part A, the other parent can claim off of those hours.


Do green card holders get Social Security?
Green card holders 10 years of work credits or a spouse with credits to qualify for  Social Security.
Are green card holders living abroad eligible for Social Security benefits?
Green card holders can get Social Security benefits outside the United States. But, if you’re out of the U.S for too long, there can be consequences.
Can green card holders apply for disability?
Permanent residents can apply for Social Security Disability, as long as you paid into taxes, you may be eligible.

How to Get Medicare as a Green Card Holder

Signing up for Medicare is the same for permanent residents and citizens. Now, undocumented immigrants won’t be able to get Medicare. For those that do qualify for Medicare, we can help you find the best plan to meet your needs. For some, Medicare Advantage plans may be suitable. But, many will find Medigap insurance the most comprehensive.

Here at MedicareFAQ, we can help you find the plan for you. Give us a call at the number above or fill out an online rate form to get your rates now.

Jagger Esch

Jagger Esch is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ and the founder, president, and CEO of Elite Insurance Partners and Since the inception of his first company in 2012, he has been dedicated to helping those eligible for Medicare by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their Medicare options. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare.

21 thoughts on “Medicare for Green Card Holders

  1. My mother will be 97 in April, is a green card holder since 2013. neither she nor her husband worked here. Is she eligible to get medicare by paying for it? will appreciate any help. Thank you.

    1. Brindha, as long as your mother has been a legal resident of the United States for at least 5 years, she is eligible to enroll in Medicare. If she has not worked at least 40 quarters (10 years) paying Medicare taxes, she will be required to pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part A. I recommend contacting your local social security office for more information.

  2. My uncle will turn 65 in this coming February 2022. However, his Green Card residency will be 5 years in May 2023. (He plans to apply for US Citizen as well.) Will there be any penalty if he applies for the Medicare in May 2023 where he fulfills his 5-years residency status or he should apply for Medicare when he is 65 in this coming February 2022?

    If he applies for Medicare next year, 2023, he will be 66 + years old.

    Please advise. Thank you.

    1. Ike, thank you for reaching out! Your uncle will not be able to apply for Medicare at this time because he is not eligible. There will not be a Part B penalty when he applies in 2023, because that is when he is projected to meet his eligibility requirements. However, you may want to research his qualifications for premium-free Part A. He may be required to pay a premium once enrolled.

  3. My mom is 76. She has been holding greencard from last 10 years. She has never worked in USA. She has been in and out of country some times more than 6 month but never less than 1 year. Currently she has medi-aid but I am wondering if she qualifies for medi-care. Five year rule applies to how long you have been holding green card or 5 years of constantly living in USA without any break.

    1. We appreciate you reaching out! The 5-year rule applies to those who have been continuously residing in the United States. If she has only left for travel, not relocation she could be eligible. It would be best to contact her local Social Security office for the most accurate information regarding her circumstances.

  4. Hello,
    I am greencard holder, widowed, My green card was sponsored by my son, I have never worked in USA , Am I eligible for Medicare?

    1. Subha, as a green card holder you are eligible for Medicare once you have established residency for at least five years. Since never working in the US, you would not be eligible for premium-free Part A and would have to pay the full premium for Part A and Part B.

  5. Hi, my mother has spent over 20 years living in the US as a stay at home mom married to my dad who served in the military. They have divorced 6 years ago and she has moved back to her home country. I plan to apply for a green card for her to come back to the states and help me with my kids. Does the 5 year residency as a green card holder start over for her or does her past years living in the US as a permanent green card holder resident count? Is the requirement for her to have 40 quarters of work also still apply now that she is divorced or will they still consider her ex spouse time working? Thank you!

    1. Hi Skyler – the five-year residency requirement will start over when she gets her new green card. Even though she and your father have divorced, there is a good chance his working quarters will count toward her premium-free Part A.

  6. Hi i am 76 years old and i had a green card for 10 years but left the country for over a year thus requiring me to get a new green card all over again. Am i eligible for any government programs or do i need to wait another 5 years?

    1. Hi Durdu – our advice is to contact where you applied for the green card to see if you qualify to bypass the waiting period that would likely come with a new green card.

  7. Hi,
    I have a question on the 5 year residency. I am 66 years old and my green card was issued in June 2017. Does it mean that I become eligible for Medicare after June 2022? or does it start in January 2022? When you say 5 years, do you mean that I apply after June 2022 or January 2022? Is this the time considered as “first eligible”?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Anna – as you are already 65+, you will be eligible/able to apply for Medicare once you have had your green card for five years. So, your eligibility will start in June 2022, on your green card anniversary.

  8. I have my green card since 0916/2016 meaning that I fulfill with the 5 years requirement of residency. I am 71 years old. As I was not entitled to get Medicare until now, during these last years I was covered through ACA (Obamacare) which worked for me very well so far. As I never worked in the US I know I have to paid Part A. Which would be my monthly premium for Basic Medicare and Medicare Advantage? My question is due to the fact that I need to decide if in 2022 I will continue with ACA or if I switch to Medicare. Your comments will be appreciated.

    1. Hi Betty! Your premium for Part A will depend on how many quarters you paid into Medicare. Part A is your hospital coverage. In order to be eligible for Medicare Advantage, you have to enroll in Part B, which is your doctor coverage. The premium for Medicare Advantage depends on what plan you enroll in since the carrier determines the premium. Under most circumstances, once you’re eligible for Part A, you are no longer eligible for any subsidies through the Marketplace. However, since you may not have paid enough quarters into Medicare to get Part A premium-free, you may be able to keep any subsidies and continue with Obamacare. Once you’ve paid into Medicare for 10 years, then you will need to enroll or you will end up paying the full price through the Marketplace.

      1. What do you mean paid into Medicare for 10 years? My mother is in a similar situation and would like to continue with Obamacare and do not want Medicare. Is that allowed. She has never worked here in US, still unemployed and is over 65 with 5 years of green card residency now. Kindly advise

  9. A LPR that is 75 years old, currently working, not yet accrued 40 credits, currently has insurance through obamacare-
    Is the person going to be hit with a penalty when he eventually enrolls in medicare?

    Thanks for your time.

  10. Article mentions 5 year rule for Medicare coverage for LPR. Have read other articles that say that if a LPR is married for over 1 year to a US citizen who is receiving SS benefits and is enrolled in Medicare then the 5 year requirement does not apply. Any info on this will be appreciated.

    1. If you’re married to a US citizen, you’re eligible for Medicare as long as you’re 65 years old or have been collecting SSDI for at least 24 months. It does not matter if your spouse is collecting SS or has Medicare. As long as your spouse paid into Medicare for 10 years, you also qualify for Part A premium free. I have not heard of having to wait one year after marriage, I would contact Medicare directly to confirm this.


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