According to an Examiner article published November, 2014, U.S. immigrants and their children account for 40% of Medicaid recipients, amounting to $4.6 billion.The figure is mainly attributed to the fact that a significant portion of admitted immigrants are in the low-income group, and could not afford insurance.
Medicaid serves to augment this need. In general, immigrants with “qualified non-citizen” statuses (green card holders, refugees, asylum seekers, trafficking survivors, and others) are eligible for Medicaid provided they meet their state’s income and residency requirements.
To qualify for Medicaid in South Carolina, an immigrant must have been a permanent resident of the state for at least five years prior to application. Those who fail to meet this requirement may not be eligible for Medicaid payment services, unless for emergency medical conditions. Eligibility rules are much broader for children and pregnant women, though.
Undocumented immigrants or those who may not be qualified for insurance affordability programs, on the other hand, may also be entitled to Medicaid payment under circumstances deemed emergencies under the Medicaid law, such as labor and delivery. Although they’re not qualified to purchase insurance through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace, they may acquire private coverage but without government-sponsored subsidy.