Health care coverage in Washington State: Non-citizen eligibility

If you are an immigrant, read this to learn more about your options for health care coverage. #5712EN

Please Note

  • Read this only if you live in the state of Washington.
  • You can find all the fact sheets we link to here at WashingtonLawHelp.org.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Read this to learn about medical programs available to non-citizens living in Washington State.

I am not a U.S. citizen. Am I eligible for Washington Apple Health?

Possibly. Washington Apple Health includes different programs, such as Medicaid and some state-funded programs. Each program has its own rules about who may be eligible.  

Non-emergency Medicaid is the biggest Washington Apple Health program. It has the most restrictions on eligibility. Non-citizens must be in one of these "qualified" immigration statuses to be eligible for non-emergency Medicaid:

  • Persons granted asylum
  • Refugees
  • Persons granted withholding of deportation or removal
  • Cuban and Haitian Entrants
  • Persons paroled into the U.S. for at least one year
  • Conditional Entrants
  • Certain survivors of domestic violence and their children and/or parents
  • Certain survivors of trafficking and their family members
*Note: Some qualified immigrants are not eligible for non-emergency Medicaid until they have had status for five years. This does not apply to refugees, persons granted asylum, and other humanitarian entrants. There are also special exceptions for active duty military, veterans, and their families.

Maybe. You may be eligible for:

  • Coverage for immigrants who are over age 65 or disabled and very low income
  • Coverage that is available to all non-citizens, regardless of immigration status, including:
    • Emergency Medicaid
    • Washington Apple Health for children (up to age 19)
    • Washington Apple Health for pregnant persons
    • COVID-19 vaccines, testing and treatment
    • Dialysis, cancer treatment, and treatment for benign life-threatening tumors
    • Long-term care (this has a waitlist)
  • Qualified Health Plans. These are private insurance plans that you can apply for through Washington State's Healthplanfinder. You may be able to get help paying for premiums and other costs through a tax credit or subsidies. Visit wahealthplanfinder.org to learn more.

You can also get care for a reduced fee at a community clinic, or buy private health insurance on your own.

Maybe. You may be eligible for:

  • Emergency Medicaid
  • Washington Apple Health for children (up to age 19)
  • Washington Apple Health for pregnant persons
  • COVID-19 vaccines, testing and treatment
  • Dialysis, cancer treatment, and treatment for benign life-threatening tumors
  • Long-term care (this has a waitlist)

You can also get care for a reduced fee at a community clinic, or buy private health insurance on your own.

Yes. All children under age 19 in Washington State who meet other requirements (like being low income) can get Washington Apple Health. Children do not need to have legal immigration status to be eligible.  

Yes. You can apply on Healthplanfinder to find out if you are eligible for any programs. Visit wahealthplanfinder.org to learn more.

No. It can only be used to decide if you are eligible for benefits. The law requires state agencies and people who help with medical applications to keep your information private. To learn more, read Immigrant Rights to Health Care: Treatment and Coverage from Protecting Immigrant Families.

You should always be truthful on your application and other eligibility forms. Ask for help if you are not sure what information the form is asking for.

You should also quickly report important changes, such as:

  • Changes to your income or the income of other family members in the home
  • When a family member moves in or out of the home

It depends. Both the on-line and paper application ask you for your social security number. If you do not have one, you can still fill out the application. Some programs do not require a social security number. You will have a chance to give other proof that you are eligible.

You may have to give other proof of income, like paystubs, for family members who do not have a valid social security number. The state may need this information to decide what benefits you or relatives may be eligible for.

*If you are eligible for a social security number and you want one, DSHS will help you apply for one.

Yes. You can apply just for your children or other family members.

If you choose not to apply for coverage for yourself, you will not have to give any information about your own immigration status. You will have to give other information, such as proof of household income.

Most medical benefits are not counted in the "public charge" test and will not hurt your immigration case. The only exception is long-term care in an institution (like a nursing home) that is paid for by Medicaid or another government program. For more information, read Public Charge: What You Need to Know and talk to a lawyer. Contact info is below.  

No. There is no public charge test when you are applying for citizenship. Getting medical assistance or other public benefits will not keep you from becoming a U.S. citizen.

Get Legal Help

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

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Last Review and Update: Jun 16, 2022
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