Health Insurance

Health Insurance – Beyond the First Eight Months

Right now, many refugees get short-term health insurance called Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA).  It is available for up to eight months.  Some refugees may be eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which is available for several years.

Thanks to the health care law, the health insurance landscape for refugees and other Americans is changing for the better in 2014.  Many refugees, who could only get eight months of insurance through RMA, will be able to get ongoing health insurance through the Marketplace.

How to Get Health Insurance at the Marketplace

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) creates the Marketplace to help people shop for health insurance at lower costs.  The Marketplace also helps you find out if you are eligible for programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 

No matter where you live, you will only need to fill out a single application on the Marketplace.  You can access the Marketplace online at, by phone at 1-800-318-2596, or by sending a paper application in the mail to:

Health Insurance Marketplace
Department of Health and Human Services
465 Industrial Blvd.
London, KY 40750

You can also get help with your application by going to a Navigator.  See a list of several Navigators in your area.  If you don’t see your State listed, get more information about which marketplace can help you.

ACA Resources for Refugees

ORR wants to make sure that refugees and service providers know how to navigate the health insurance landscape.  ORR developed the following tools to help with outreach and enrollment activities:

YouTube Video

ORR produced a six-minute video to introduce the Health Insurance Marketplace to refugees, available in six languages. 
Click on one of the languages below to see the video:

Fact Sheet

ORR created a fact sheet to explain immigration statuses that qualify for Marketplace coverage including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan.   Knowing about eligible immigration status can help you with your ACA outreach and enrollment activities.  View the fact sheet.

For more information about immigration documents that may be required or used, depending on the individual situation, visit the Marketplace at

Marketplace Consumer Application

The Health Insurance Marketplace will help you get coverage that meets your needs and fits your budget. Open enrollment began October 1, 2013.

You can apply for health coverage, compare all your options, and enroll in a plan in one streamlined application through the Marketplace.  ORR collaborated with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to translate the application into languages relevant to the refugee community. These translations can serve as training tools for completing the application.  Below is a list of some of the languages available::

Information about Refugees for Navigators 

ORR developed a training curriculum designed to educate Navigators and Certified Application Counselors (CACs) about refugees and other   vulnerable populations.  The purpose of the curriculum is to ensure these populations have equal access to benefits under the ACA.  The curriculum contains the following:

  • Information about eight immigration statuses eligible for health insurance benefits under the ACA;
  • Links and lists of key contacts that Navigators and CACs can contact to learn more about refugees within a specific community including: State Refugee Coordinators, State Refugee Health Coordinators, Ethnic Community-Based Organizations, voluntary agencies, local resettlement agencies and anti-trafficking networks.

Navigators and CACs may find this chart listing refugee languages by county helpful.

Additional Resources

  • Visit to learn more about health insurance.
  • If you have questions, you can also call the help center at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325).  The help center is available 24/7 and is ready to answer questions in 150 languages.