Minnesota has 3 health care programs for low-income people. If you are a noncitizen, you might be able to get help from one of these programs, BUT it depends on your income, your immigration status, and the date you got your immigration status.
Most people who come to the U.S. have a relative in the U.S. sponsor them. A relative sponsor is a family member who is a citizen or LPR. The sponsor agrees to be responsible for you in the U.S. Sponsors have promised the USCIS that if you become poor, they will support you.
If you came to the U.S. after December 19, 1997 through a relative petition, the government can count the income and assets of your sponsor and your sponsor’s spouse as if they were your income and assets. If more than one person sponsored you, the other sponsor’s income and assets also count as your income and assets. Sponsor income and assets count until you become a U.S. citizen, your sponsor dies or permanently leaves the U.S., or you have worked 10 years at work where FICA taxes are deducted from your pay. You may also get credit for work done by your spouse or by your parent(s) when you were a minor.
Counting your sponsor’s income and assets may put you over the income or asset limits for the MA program. There is a special state policy where the state won’t count your sponsor’s income and assets for 12 months if you are a victim of domestic abuse. You must show a strong connection between the abuse and your need for health care. If your income – without adding in your sponsor’s income- is below federal poverty guidelines, you may be able to get MA.
If your income – without adding in your sponsor’s income- is below federal poverty guidelines, you may be able to get MA.
Note: Sponsor income IS NOT COUNTED for pregnant people or children. This includes the 12-month post-partum period for pregnant people.
Note: Sponsor income and assets are counted in MA but not in MNCare. Because of this, you could have too much income to get MA, but not enough to get MNCare. To help with this problem, the state created a “safety net” program. Under the program, you should be able to get either MA or MNCare, depending on your projected income. See Safety Net Program below in the MNCare section.
Minnesota has a special state-funded MA program. It is only for people getting services from the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) or a similar program. Find CVT's website at www.cvt.org.
If you are getting care and services from CVT or a similar program, you automatically qualify for this special MA program. You don’t have to be a “qualified” noncitizen. You don’t have to be in an MA category. You don’t even have to have a low income or assets!
MA for Pregnant People and Children – Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
Children who are in the U.S. legally are eligible for MA. This includes children who have Temporary Protected Status (TPS), who have applied for but don't yet have asylum, etc. They don’t have to be “qualified” noncitizens. Funding for MA for children who are not “qualified” comes from CHIP.
If you are pregnant, you can get MA during your entire pregnancy and for 12 months after you give birth. You don’t have to have a certain immigration status to qualify. You can even get MA if you are undocumented. Your MA benefits are paid by CHIP.
The second MN health care program is MinnesotaCare (MNCare). You can get MNCare if you aren’t eligible for MA because your income is too high. You have to pay a premium in MNCare. MNCare has sliding fees so you pay based on your income. You can also get MNCare if you don’t fall in an MA category, if you are in your 5-year waiting period for MA, or if you are not a “qualified” noncitizen. Unlike MA, MNCare does not offer home health care services, non-emergency medical transportation, mental health case management, or housing stabilization services.
In most cases, noncitizens who are living in the U.S. legally must have income between 137% and 200% of the federal poverty guidelines (FPG) to qualify for MNCare. Because MA counts sponsor income but MNCare doesn’t, noncitizens can be over the MA income limits but not have enough income to qualify for MNCare. The income levels depend on the number of people in the household. Because of this gap, the state created a Safety Net Program so people in this situation can get MA or MNCare, depending on their projected annual income.
EMA pays for emergency medical services. To get EMA, you have to have a really serious medical condition or medical problem. The condition or problem has to be so serious that if you don’t get medical treatment, your health or body parts will be at risk.
If you have a medical emergency, EMA will pay for your care. The care is usually delivered in an emergency room or ambulance. EMA can also pay for your care if you are a patient in a hospital, or if you were recently discharged from the hospital and need follow-up care.
You can get EMA for heart or breathing problems if, without medical treatment, you are likely to end up in crisis within 2 days.
Usually, EMA does not pay for medical care for conditions that are ongoing. EMA does not pay for home health services, mental health care, or other medical services for health problems considered “non-emergency.”
But EMA pays for medical care for some chronic conditions, like cancer and kidney disease. EMA can pay for kidney dialysis, kidney transplants, and services related to a kidney transplant. EMA does not pay for transplants of other organs.