State Policy Documentation Project




Table 9: States' Choices Regarding Medicaid Coverage of Immigrants

Table 9 provides information on the choices that states have made about providing Medicaid coverage for legal immigrants. The 1996 federal welfare law prohibits states from using federal Medicaid funds to provide coverage to "non-exempt" legal immigrants who entered the United States on or after August 22, 1996. It also gave states the option to decide whether or not to cover "non-exempt" legal immigrants who arrived prior to August 22, 1996.

However, states are required to cover "exempt" groups of legal immigrants, regardless of when they arrived in the United States. For purposes of Medicaid eligibility, exempt groups of immigrants include refugees for their first seven years; asylees for their first seven years; persons granted withholding of deportation for seven years; Cuban/Haitian entrants for first seven years; Amerasians for their first seven years; veterans, individuals on active duty, spouses and dependent children of veterans or individuals on active duty; and legal permanent residents who can claim forty quarters of work (either through their own employment or that of their parents or spouses).(24) Moreover, states also are required to provide emergency medical assistance to all immigrants, regardless of when they entered the United States, as long as they are financially and categorically eligible for Medicaid.

Column 1: Column 1 indicates whether a state has exercised the option to provide Medicaid to non-exempt "qualified" immigrants who were in the United States before August 22, 1996. Qualified immigrants include the following groups of legal immigrants: legal permanent residents (including Amerasians), refugees, asylees, persons granted withholding of deportation, Cuban/Haitian entrants, persons paroled into the U.S. for at least one year, persons granted conditional entry, and certain battered women and children.

Column 2: Column 2 identifies which states have elected to use their own funds to provide state-funded Medicaid or similar medical assistance to immigrants who are not eligible for federally-funded Medicaid.


Table 9
States' Choices Regarding Medicaid Coverage of Immigrants

  Does the state provide Medicaid to non-exempt qualified immigrants who arrived before 8/22/96? Does the state provide state-funded Medicaid or similar medical assistance to legal immigrants who are not eligible for federally-funded Medicaid?
Totals 50 Yes
1 No
20 Yes
31 No
Alabama Yes No
Alaska Yes No
Arizona Yes PRUCOLS receiving SSI-related Medicaid pre-8/21/96 and pregnant women who were legally in U.S. before or on 8/11/96 and are now not qualified
Arkansas Yes No
California Yes All legal ineligible immigrants
Colorado Yes Prenatal care for legal immigrants who entered after 8/22/96
Connecticut Yes Lawfully residing residents; PRUCOLS and qualified aliens who are victims of domestic violence.
Delaware Yes All legal immigrants
District of Columbia Yes No
Florida Yes Certain PRUCOLS receiving Medicaid pre-8/22/96
Georgia Yes No
Hawaii Yes No
Idaho Yes No
Illinois Yes Children post-8/22/96 and all pregnant women
Indiana Yes No
Iowa Yes No
Kansas Yes No
Kentucky Yes No
Louisiana Yes No
Maine Yes All legal immigrants
Maryland Yes All pregnant women and children under 18 yrs
Massachusetts Yes All legal immigrants
Michigan Yes PRUCOLS in long-term care pre-8/22/96
Minnesota Yes All legal immigrants
Mississippi Yes No
Missouri Yes No
Montana Yes No
Nebraska Yes All legal immigrants
Nevada Yes No
New Hampshire Yes No
New Jersey Yes Legal pregnant immigrants eligible for pre-natal care and all immigrants eligible for free/reduced charity hospital care
New Mexico Yes PRUCOLS pre-8/22/96
New York Yes PRUCOLS who were Medicaid recipients in certain residential health care facilities pre-8/4/97 and AIDS patients on Medicaid pre-8/4/97.
North Carolina Yes No
North Dakota Yes No
Ohio Yes No
Oklahoma Yes No
Oregon Yes No
Pennsylvania Yes All legal immigrants
Rhode Island Yes All pregnant women and children under 19 yrs
South Carolina Yes No
South Dakota Yes No
Tennessee Yes No
Texas Yes No
Utah Yes No
Vermont Yes No
Virginia Yes All legal immigrant children under age 19 yrs. and PRUCOLS receiving long-term care on 6/30/97
Washington Yes PRUCOLS and immigrants pre-8/21/96 who are eligible for state-funded TANF and all children up to 100% FPL and all pregnant women
West Virginia Yes No
Wisconsin Yes No
Wyoming No No


24. For a more detailed description of the rules that govern states' options around coverage of legal immigrants, see Kelly Carmody, State Options to Assist Legal Immigrants Ineligible for Federal Benefits, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, February 1998.
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This page last updated September 02, 2023

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