Medicaid Coverage for Immigrants

Executive Summary

To be eligible for full-scope Medicaid coverage, an individual must be a United States citizen or national or hold a satisfactory immigration status. Due to the complexity of the relevant immigration statutes and the flexibility states have to decide which groups of immigrants to cover, there is significant confusion about immigrants’ eligibility for Medicaid coverage.

This issue brief outlines which groups of immigrants states must cover, may cover, and cannot cover with federal Medicaid funding (assuming all other Medicaid eligibility criteria are met). We have included a flow chart to help evaluate whether a particular individual is eligible for Medicaid coverage. The issue brief also explains how states verify applicants’ immigration status and calculate immigrants’ income for purposes of Medicaid eligibility.

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