Monday, September 17, 2007

Health Insurance For Immigrants

Health insurance for immigrants who enter the United States is not always available when they first set foot in the country. Many immigrants are eligible for domestic medical coverage or Medicare programs within certain guidelines. Many companies require foreign nationals and new immigrants to be residents of the U.S. for at least six months to five years before they become eligible for medical coverage. To receive coverage, an immigrant must also have a green card and social security number before the person may purchase any insurance policies. The U.S. offers the most comprehensive medical care of any country in the world, however it is often complicated as well as very expensive.

For the visitor to the United States or the recent immigrant, finding a program that is easy to understand and reasonably priced is often difficult. There are simple programs of health insurance for immigrants that will provide up to 5 years of protection. They may initially enroll into an incoming program for between 1 and 12 months. If they purchase coverage for a period of at least 3 months, they may renew again for a minimum of that same period. The total period of coverage cannot exceed 60 months and the policy cannot be rewritten. There is an ever increasing number of farm workers in the U.S. who come by way of immigration. Farm owners who hire them are unable to provide health insurance for farmers who work for them.

The insurance carriers are usually struggling to provide coverage for farm owners who cannot make the high monthly premiums as it is. Health insurance for farmers has taken a toll on their yearly budget which is volatile due to unpredictable seasonal conflicts on their products whether it is produce, field crops or livestock. Therefore, many independent farm owners find obtaining health insurance for immigrants who work as farm hands to be just as challenging for their own families' needs as it is to attempt to provide for the workers and their families. "The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him." (Nahum 1:7)

Coverage for farmers is more expensive than normal domestic medical policies due to the increased risk factor of farm life. The equipment and implements that are normal to the trade are dangerous and risky although necessary. Therefore, the cost of health insurance for farmers exceeds what the average farm owner can afford, especially if their entire income is based on raising crops and livestock. The risks that owners take economically is almost equal to, if not exceeded by, the risks they take physically. Insurance is equally as important to them as it is to their paid help, but providing health insurance for immigrants who are farm workers is a very difficult problem that may need to be addressed by governmental agencies. Such agencies are considering the concept of forcing paid health programs to cover farm owners, workers and those who are also immigrants.

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