Last updated: November 19, 2021
This page provides information about a new health insurance program for immigrants 65 years or older.
Health Benefits for Immigrants 65 Years or Older
There is a new health insurance program in Illinois for non-citizens age 65 and over who do not meet immigration status requirements for Medicaid.
Enrollment into health insurance coverage starts December 1, 2020. However, after you are enrolled, this program may be able to help pay your medical bills for health care you received for up to three months prior to your enrollment date – this is called “backdated coverage.” So, keep your medical bills from September 1, 2020 onwards in case this program is able to pay for the bills after you are enrolled in the program.
Who is Eligible?
You may be eligible for this new program if you:
- Are 65 years old or older, AND
- An undocumented immigrant OR
- A green card holder or legal permanent resident in the U.S. who has had that immigration status for less than five years OR
- Have another immigration status that makes you ineligible for traditional Medicaid; AND
- Have Income under 100% FPL which is $1063 per month for one person* AND
- Have assets below $2,000 (or are a couple with assets under $3,000)**
* Your medical bills can be deducted from your income or your assets so you may qualify even if you have income above this amount.
** Assets will not be counted until after the COVID-19 emergency. Some assets, like a home or a car, will not be counted.
How Does it Work?
The new health insurance program provides comprehensive healthcare coverage without premiums or co-payments.
Covered services include: doctor and hospital care, lab tests, rehabilitative services such as physical and occupational therapy, mental health and substance use disorder services, dental and vision services, and prescription drugs. Nursing facility services and home and community-based services will not be covered.
If you have bills from a nursing facility (or other medical bills) due to being treated for COVID-19 please contact the Immigrant Family Resource Programs: www.icirr.org/ifrp or the ICIRR Health Hotline at: 1-815-435-7693.
What about Public Charge?
Getting healthcare services through this program will not count against you for the public charge test because this program is exclusively state-funded. In fact, having health benefits coverage through this program may be helpful to you (a positive or favorable factor) if you are subject to the public charge test when you apply for your green card.
Remember that many immigration statuses are not subject to the public charge test. If you would like more information about the public charge test, please contact your local Immigrant Family Resource Program (IFRP). The IFRPs work with immigrant families on public benefit applications and are continuously trained on issues such as public charge: www.icirr.org/ifrp.
How Do I Apply?
You can apply for these new benefits by any of the following methods.
- Apply online – at www.ABE.illinois.gov.
- Apply by phone – call the ABE Customer Call Center at 1-800-843-6154.
- Contact an Application Assistor for help in applying
- Contact a Community Service Agency for help in applying in 59 languages.
- Apply by mail – use the online Paper Application or call the ABE Customer Call Center 1-800-843-6154 to request a paper application.
Need More Help?
For more information, contact:
– Office of Welcoming Centers for Refugee and Immigrant Services Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant Services at 312-793-2705, or
– Immigrant Family Resource Programs website or the ICIRR Health Hotline: 815-435-7693