Most uninsured noncitizen immigrants2 didn’t qualify for Medicaid, the government program that provides medical coverage for poor families, or the newly established health insurance subsidies that are meant to make insurance affordable to lower- and middle-income families. More than 4 million of them were most likely undocumented immigrants,3 who are explicitly barred from receiving Medicaid or buying insurance on the exchanges.
Another 600,000 immigrants had been in the country for less than five years and likely weren’t eligible for Medicaid and CHIP, a program for low-income children, though all income-eligible documented immigrants are entitled to subsidies on the exchanges. That left about 2 million who should in theory have qualified for Medicaid or subsidies on the exchanges (though many of them could have fallen in the Medicaid gap — more on that below). This group of longtime, legal residents has historically had lower rates of coverage than U.S. citizens; it will likely take time for them to make gains in coverage under the law.