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Information Center for Those Inbound to the US

If you will be living in the United States as an expatriate you will need a private medical insurance plan to both cover the high cost of healthcare in the US and to avoid fines related to the Affordable Care Act.

Meet Alice, She is Moving to the US for work

She is so excited that her employer wants to send her from her home in Asia to New York City for at least a few years to work in the company’s flagship office! It’s a great career opportunity and in one of the world’s most dynamic cities. Her big move is coming up soon, so Alice decides that the time is right to look into the United States healthcare system and how best she can address costs there because she knows that the US is well known for having the highest medical costs in the world.

Is Alice required to secure ACA-compliant health insurance?

As an E1 visa holder, which is provided to company sponsored managers and executives, Alice will be required to comply with the requirements put forth by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also commonly known as Obamacare. The law states any employer in the United States with at least 50 full-time workers must provide them and their dependents with health insurance that meets the Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) as stipulated by the government. Additionally, any citizens, legal US residents, resident aliens and non-resident aliens (with some exemptions) not covered by company-sponsored insurance must obtain their own insurance coverage in order to avoid tax penalties.

Where can Alice learn more about insurance in the US and her home country?

Alice isn’t alone. The United States issued over 10 million visas in 2015, and while most of these individuals likely obtained a health insurance plan that meets ACA requirements, a majority of these plans would not have provided any coverage outside of the US. Alice loves to travel, though, and if she was to purchase one of these plans, she would have to purchase additional insurance every time she took a trip abroad, whether for business or pleasure. What’s more, if Alice wants to see her doctor back in her home country, she will have to pay out of pocket, as travel insurance plans generally only pay for emergency care. Fortunately for her, Pacific Prime has a new International Health Insurance plans that will allow her access to high-quality medical insurance anywhere in the world while still meeting with ACA requirements, so Alice can avoid incurring any fines as a result of non-compliance with the law.

To find out more about International Health Insurance plans from Pacific Prime for yourself, please explore the information presented below.

What to consider before moving to the US

If you are going to be moving to the US, there are a number of important things to be aware of when it comes to the ACA, health insurance, and your available options. Here are five of the most important.

  • MEC and individual mandate rules - You will be subject to the ACA's individual mandate as soon as you become a resident alien of the US unless your visa is exempt. This means you will need to have Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC). Learn more about MEC and the Individual Mandate here.

  • Who needs MEC - As a general rule of thumb, if you will be paying taxes in the US, you will need to prove MEC and the relevant 1095 documentation. There are exemptions to this rule, however, click here to learn more.   

  • MEC is not required for immigration - There are no rules in place stating that you need to have MEC in order to be issued a visa. In other words, the MEC has no impact on immigration. Only on your taxes.

  • Policies sold within the US require a US address - This has historically made it hard for those inbound to the US to secure coverage in the US before you leave. There are solutions available, however. Click here to learn more.

  • Local US plans don't provide coverage in your home country - Compliant plans purchased within the US will not cover you in your home country. View our solutions section to learn more about your coverage options.     

What is the MEC and the Individual Mandate?

The Individual mandate of the ACA is an important thing all expats need to be aware of, especially when it comes to defining Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC).


What are the consequences of not being insured?

Money to represent a fine

If you don't secure qualifying coverage while in the US, you may be facing stiff penalties.


An Example of Compliance For Those Inbound to the US

Statue of liberty

Complying with the ACA mandates while also ensuring your have coverage in your home country can be a complex task. Read how one family has dealt with it. 


What are your coverage options?

Looking at insurance options

Taxpaying residents outside of the US have a number of insurance options available to them. Read more about them here.


Are you required to have ACA compliant insurance?

Figuring out ACA liability

If you are moving to the US, there can be some confusion around whether you need to secure Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC). Learn more here. 


Compliant Insurance Solutions from Pacific Prime

Helpful insurance solutions

Pacific Prime is able to offer a number of health insurance plans that not only meet MEC requirements but also offer global coverage. 


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