Health Insurance Without SSN | Here are the 3 Options

Health Insurance Without SSN

Everyone knows just how important health insurance is. Without a valid health insurance plan, you are exposed to financial risks from paying significant doctor’s visits and hospital care costs out of your pockets.

You may also think you cannot buy a health insurance policy without a social security number. This is not exactly true.

You can still buy health insurance. These insurance policies usually cover the cost of treating illness, injuries or the cost of a hospital visit.

So, if you do not have a social security number (SSN) and want to buy the best health insurance, you may find this guide helpful.

This article will look at some of the best options for buying health insurance without an SSN.

Affordable Care Act (ACA)

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was introduced in March 2010 to increase access to health insurance, expand Medicaid eligibility in participating states, and reduce healthcare costs.

Several provisions within the ACA regulate the sale of insurance policies in the market. Hence, if an insurance provider wants to sell an ACA health insurance plan on the market, they need to ensure that they offer to cover the cost of treating:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth services
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Pediatric Dentistry

These are only the major additional provisions under the ACA but not everyone can qualify for the Affordable Care Act. An individual is considered to be eligible for health insurance under ACA only if the individual:

  • Resides in the US
  • Is lawfully present (1)
  • Is not incarcerated

Every state has created online health exchanges for eligible individuals to purchase a health insurance plan. To buy a health insurance plan, the regulations dictate that you need to be “lawfully present,” which means that you should be:

  • US citizen
  • US national or
  • Lawfully present immigrant (on Visa or similar form) or
  • Specified, protected immigrants, such as refugees/asylees from identified countries

To learn specific details about this regulation on immigration status and forms, visit the website.

Undocumented immigrants are ineligible to purchase health insurance through ACA marketplaces, though they may obtain health coverage through other means, such as private insurance outside the marketplace.

US Citizens Without Social Security Number

There are numerous reasons why many Americans who were born in the US still do not have a social security number. However, does this present an obstacle when buying health insurance?

Such individuals can contact their state’s health insurance exchange and determine their options. In addition, you may be eligible to buy several health insurance policies.

Alternative health insurance plans outside of the ACA can still provide coverage, although the benefits may differ from ACA-compliant plans.

US Citizen Not “Lawfully Present”

ACA plan eligibility criteria focus on the prospective insurance policy purchaser being “lawfully present.”

If you are not deemed lawfully present, you are not eligible to purchase health insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act. In such a case, you are considered to be undocumented.

Individuals who are not lawfully present can still purchase private health insurance directly from insurers or through brokers outside of ACA marketplaces.

Having a Social Security number does not automatically impact an individual’s lawful presence status, which is determined based on immigration status.

This often happens when you have been lawfully present for some time. You may have overstayed your visa or work authorization.

In such a case, despite having a social security number, you may be considered not lawfully present and unable to qualify for health insurance under ACA plans.

Health Insurance Without SSN

Now that you know the eligibility criteria for purchasing a health insurance policy under ACA, let’s look at some alternate health insurance plans for those without social security numbers.

Before taking a look at the options, you need to consider several factors, as these types of health insurance plans often:

  • Don’t offer to cover the cost of pregnancy and childbirth
  • Don’t offer prescription insurance, but can authorize a prescription discount card, which is ideal for buying generic medicine.
  • Offer limited coverage for any pre-existing health conditions
  • Have long waiting periods for treating certain conditions, such as tonsil surgery
  • Exclude certain health conditions also
  • Have limited preventive care benefits

Though regulations vary, all states allow some forms of alternative or non-ACA-compliant health insurance, such as indemnity or short-term health plans.

To learn more about the details and criteria for your state of residence, check out your state’s health insurance exchange.

3 Alternatives for Health Insurance Without SSN

Now let’s check out alternatives for health insurance without SSN:

1 – Indemnity Plan

An indemnity health insurance is your first option if you don’t have an SSN. This insurance plan pays a fixed dollar benefit for any particular service.

For instance, the indemnity plan will pay around US$ 100 when you visit the doctor for a checkup.

Like any other health insurance plan, this policy has advantages and limitations.

Using indemnity insurance, you can visit any doctor you like. These insurance plans don’t have any deductibles, as indemnity plans are based on first-dollar benefits.

2 – Short-Term Medical Insurance

Short-term medical insurance is an option available for those needing temporary coverage. It typically does not require an SSN, though these plans offer limited benefits and do not cover pre-existing conditions.

These insurance plans are designed to last up to 12 months, although some states offer short-term insurance policies for 36 months.

However, short-term health insurance plans mostly exclude pre-existing conditions and any health issues diagnosed and treated after buying short-term health insurance are covered under this plan.

Short-term medical insurance plans offer to cover the cost of the following:

  • Doctor’s visits
  • Hospital stays
  • Ambulance service
  • ER visits
  • Laboratory work
  • Imaging diagnostics
  • Cancer screening, etc.

These types of health insurance plans can be bought with 20% lower premiums than conventional plans and cost about 50% less in out-of-pocket costs.

3 – Temporary Travel Medical Insurance

Temporary travel medical insurance is designed for individuals traveling to or from the U.S.. It is useful for those with a current visa, though it primarily covers health issues that arise during the travel period and is not a comprehensive health insurance solution. There are different options for every state but the insurance network is extensive enough.

Remember, this is a temporary medical insurance policy. Additionally, carriers explicitly exclude bearing the cost of treating pre-existing conditions or chronic disorders.


Suppose you need health insurance but do not have a social security number. In that case, you have three primary options: indemnity insurance, short-term medical insurance and temporary travel insurance.

Feel free to visit your state’s health insurance exchange for further information about eligibility and the application process.

See Also

What is NIH

What is HHS

How to Register for NRMP

Current Version
August 1, 2023
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.
September 3, 2021
Written By
Shubham Grover
April 14, 2024
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.

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