Help with Medical Bills for Immigrants without Legal Immigration Status

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Describes what programs are available and who is eligible for medical bill help. #8144EN

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

You'll learn about medical assistance programs in Washington State open to low-income immigrants who don't have legal status, if they meet other requirements.

These programs don't require you to have legal immigration status:

  • Medical coverage for children under age 19

  • Medical coverage for pregnant people, until one year after the pregnancy ends

  • Emergency Medicaid for treatment of emergency medical conditions in a hospital

  • Treatment for cancer, benign life-threatening tumors, or dialysis

Starting in 2024, Washington State has 2 new programs for adults who don't have legal immigration status:

Yes, if your family's income is below 215% of the Federal Poverty Level. In 2024, this is about $67,080 for a family of four.

Families with incomes between 215% and 317% of the Federal Poverty Level must pay a small premium.

It covers treatment of certain emergency medical conditions in a hospital.

Emergency Medicaid doesn't cover services or treatment that you get in a clinic, after the hospital discharges you, or at the same time as the emergency treatment but that is unrelated to the emergency condition.

You can get coverage under the Emergency Medicaid program for up to 3 months before the date you apply. This means you can apply after getting the emergency treatment. But it's best to apply as soon as you can. While you're at the hospital, you can ask hospital staff for help with the application.

Yes, it's generally very safe to apply. State and federal laws protect the privacy of the information you put on your application. Your information shouldn't be shared with immigration officials.

If you prefer, you can choose to apply for benefits for other family members, such as your children, and not for yourself. Then you won't have to give information about your own immigration status. You may have to give proof of your family's income.

No. Medical assistance is safe to use. It won't hurt your immigration case. The only exception is if the government pays for your long-term care in an institution, like a nursing home.

Immigration officials won't consider any benefits your family members use, including medical coverage for your children. Read Public Charge: What You Need to Know to learn more. 

Maybe. If you've filed an immigration application with Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) you may be eligible for other programs, even if USCIS hasn't yet decided about your application.

You can ask for a hearing and talk to a legal services lawyer for advice. See contact information below. Read Representing Yourself at an Administrative Hearing to learn more.

Get Legal Help

Visit Northwest Justice Project to find out how to get legal help. 

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Last Review and Update: Mar 19, 2024
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