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MassHealth Information for Noncitizens

MassHealth may be available for people who are noncitizens. A person who was born outside of the United States may be a noncitizen based on their immigration status.

Table of Contents

General Information for Members and Applicants

The MassHealth benefits a member is eligible for may depend on the member’s citizenship status.

These noncitizen categories are based on a person’s immigration status.

  1. Lawfully Present Immigrant is a person who lives in the United States with a valid immigration status. There are three types of Lawfully Present Immigrants.
    • Qualified Noncitizen is a person in a special immigration group. These groups include Asylum, Refugee, Cuban/Haitian Entrant, or a person who has had legal permanent residency (I-551 or “green card”) for more than five years.
    • Qualified Noncitizens Barred is a person who has had legal permanent residency for less than five years.
    • Nonqualified Individual Lawfully Present is a person with a valid nonimmigrant VISA such as B1/B2 (tourism and work), J1 (exchange), or F1 (student) VISAs, or employment authorization documentation (I-766).
  2. Nonqualified PRUCOL is a person who lives in the United States under color of law. This may include people who have applied for a valid immigration status, or people who live in the United States with the knowledge and consent of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). There are other ways a person may be considered PRUCOL. For more information, see (EOM 22-04).
  3. Other Noncitizen is a person who does not fall into the Lawfully Present Immigrant or Nonqualified PRUCOL groups.

For a full list of noncitizen categories, please see the link to the Overview of Noncitizen Groups below. If you have specific questions about how citizenship status impacts members and applicants, we recommend speaking to an immigration expert.

For a list of immigration services in the community, click here. Information is available in multiple languages on the site.

Members may be eligible for one of these coverage types depending on their citizenship status:

  • Standard: MassHealth Standard coverage type offers a full range of health care benefits
  • CommonHealth: MassHealth CommonHealth offers a full range of health care benefits specifically for disabled adults and disabled children who are not otherwise eligible for MassHealth Standard
  • CarePlus: MassHealth CarePlus offers a broad range of health care benefits to adults who are not otherwise eligible for MassHealth Standard
  • Family Assistance MassHealth Family Assistance offers a broad range of health benefits to certain children and adults, including noncitizens, who are not eligible for MassHealth Standard.
  • MassHealth Senior Buy-In and Buy-In programs for Medicare beneficiaries: The MassHealth Medicare Savings (Buy-In) programs help pay some of the out-of-pocket costs of Medicare.
  • Limited: This coverage type provides emergency health services to people who, under federal law, have an immigration status that keeps them from getting more services
  • Health Safety Net (HSN): The HSN may be able to pay for certain services you receive from an acute hospital or a community health center if you are a resident of Massachusetts and you are uninsured or underinsured (your health insurance does not cover all medically necessary services).

Pregnant people in any noncitizen group may be eligible for full MassHealth benefits while they are pregnant and for 12 months postpartum, if they are otherwise eligible and meet financial guidelines.

Children under age 21 who are Lawfully Present Immigrants or Nonqualified PRUCOLs may be eligible for a comprehensive MassHealth benefit that includes services such as hospital and doctor’s visits, pharmacy, and behavioral health  if they are otherwise eligible and meet financial guidelines. Children under age 19 who are other noncitizens may be able to get the Children’s Medical Security Plan (CMSP).

Additional Resources

General Information for Advocates

Recent Eligibility Operations Memos (EOMs) about MassHealth Eligibility for Noncitizens

  • EOM 22-11: Eligibility for Displaced Ukrainian Citizens PDF | Word
  • EOM 22-04: Verification of PRUCOL Status PDF | Word
  • EOM 22-03: Eligibility Rules for Cuban and Haitian Entrants PDF | Word
  • EOM 21-18: Updates to Eligibility for Compact of Free Association (COFA) Migrants PDF | Word
  • EOM 21-16: Pathway to Short-Term and Long-Term-Care for Family Assistance Members at a Chronic Disease and Rehabilitation Hospital or Nursing Facility PDF | Word
  • EOM 21-15: MassHealth Eligibility for Afghan Immigrant Evacuees PDF | Word


Pathway to MassHealth Standard for Non-Citizens

Members with an immigration status that is Qualified Non-Citizen Barred, Non-Qualified Individual Lawfully Present, and Non-Qualified Person Residing Under the Color of Law (PRUCOL) who need nursing facility care have a pathway for getting these services covered. Members found clinically eligible and that meet financial requirements, may have services at a chronic disease and rehabilitation hospital or nursing facility covered.  


Information for Noncitizens on Public Charge

As of March 9, 2021 Medicaid (MassHealth), public housing, and SNAP do not count as part of the Public Charge determination. The only benefits considered in public charge are programs (including Medicaid) that pay for long-term care in a medical institution such as a nursing home and needs-based cash assistance benefits such as SSI, TAFDC and EAEDC.

You can find more information about immigration statuses and how to update or apply for a valid immigration status at the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Latest Updates and News

DHS Official Designation of Ukraine and Sudan for Temporary Protected Status

On April 18, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officially posted two Federal Register notices on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for both Ukraine and Sudan. The registration process for both countries began on April 19, 2022, and all individuals who want to request TPS under the designation of Ukraine or Sudan must file an application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)


Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2022

The Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2022, or HR 7691, was recently signed into law on 5/21/22. This law provides updates to the types of public benefits that Humanitarian Parolees from Ukraine are eligible to receive. Per this update in law, Ukrainians who enter the country as Humanitarian Parolees will now be treated the same as Refugees, for the purposes of receiving public benefits including MassHealth.

Humanitarian Parolees from Ukraine are those who:

  • were or will be paroled into the United States between February 24, 2022, and September 30, 2023, or
  • were paroled after September 30, 2023, and are the spouse or child of a person who was paroled between February 24, 2022, and September 30, 2023, or
  • were paroled after September 30, 2023, and are the parent, legal guardian or primary caretaker of an unaccompanied child who was paroled between February 24, 2022, and September 30, 2023

This is a developing policy. MassHealth will make updates as new guidance is received.


Cuban/Haitian Entrants

Cuban/Haitian entrants are defined as certain nationals of Cuba and Haiti who have permission to reside in the U.S. based on humanitarian considerations or under special laws that apply to them. For the purposes of MassHealth eligibility, these individuals are considered Qualified Non-Citizens. For more information about Cuban/Haitian Entrants, see Eligibility Operations Memo 22-03.


MassHealth Benefits for Afghan Immigrant Evacuees

Massachusetts is currently engaged as part of the United States’ ongoing effort to support and resettle individuals and families who have been evacuated from Afghanistan, especially those who may have supported the United States over the past two decades. As Afghan evacuees enter the United States, they are assigned various immigration status categories.

For more information about the various immigration status categories for Afghan Immigrant Evacuees who are applying for MassHealth benefits, please see Eligibility Operations Memo 21-15.

Date published: September 30, 2022
Last updated: July 17, 2023

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