Can I get health insurance with an ITIN number?

Having health insurance is crucial for getting access to healthcare and managing costs. But what if you don’t have a Social Security Number (SSN) and instead have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)? Can you still get health insurance?

The short answer is – yes, in most cases you can get health insurance with an ITIN number instead of an SSN. However, there are some important factors to understand when applying for health insurance without an SSN.

What is an ITIN?

An ITIN is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to individuals who do not have and are not eligible to get a Social Security Number. It is a 9-digit number that always begins with the number 9 and has a 7 or 8 in the fourth digit.

ITINs allow individuals to comply with tax laws and file returns even if they don’t have an SSN. Some common reasons for having an ITIN instead of an SSN include:

  • Being a nonresident or resident alien in the United States
  • Filing for dependents who do not have an SSN
  • Spouses of visa holders filing joint tax returns
  • Various other situations where an individual is not eligible for an SSN

Health insurance options with an ITIN

The Affordable Care Act requires that legal U.S. residents have health insurance or pay a penalty. However, the ACA makes an exception for immigrants who do not have eligible immigration status.

This means that undocumented immigrants are not required to have health insurance under the ACA. They are also not eligible for government-subsidized health insurance options like Medicaid and plans on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

However, there are still private health insurance options available to those with ITIN numbers:

  • Private health insurance plans – Most private health insurance companies will accept ITINs in place of SSNs when applying for coverage. This includes plans purchased directly from insurance companies or through insurance brokers and agents. The application process is usually smooth as long as you provide a valid ITIN.

  • Employer-sponsored health insurance – If you have work authorization, you may be able to get health insurance through your employer using your ITIN, even if you are not eligible for an SSN. Many employer plans only require an employee identification number, which can be an ITIN.

  • COBRA – If you lose employer-based insurance coverage, you may be eligible to continue coverage for a limited time under COBRA. This would allow you to keep your health plan using your ITIN.

  • Short-term health insurance – Short-term plans provide temporary health coverage for 30 days to 364 days. They usually don’t check immigration status and will accept ITINs.

  • Health care sharing ministries – Some health care sharing ministries provide health coverage for faith-based groups and may offer plans to those with ITINs.

So in most cases, private health insurance companies will accept ITINs in place of SSNs for coverage. However, there are exceptions, so its best to check directly with the insurer.

Applying for health insurance with an ITIN

Here are some tips when applying for private health insurance using your ITIN number:

  • Check plan eligibility – Contact the insurer directly to see if they accept ITINs. Don’t assume they will.

  • Use your ITIN – When asked for your SSN or TIN on the application, provide your valid ITIN. This is your identifier.

  • Check current address – Insurers will verify your residency more than your SSN/ITIN. So make sure your application has your current, accurate address.

  • Provide supporting documents – Be prepared to submit documents proving your identity, ITIN, and address. This can include your ITIN assignment letter, passport, utility bills, etc.

  • Use an broker – Working with an independent insurance broker can help ensure your ITIN is accepted and handle any verification processes.

  • Be ready to pay full price – Without an SSN, you likely won’t qualify for any subsidies, so expect to pay the full premium. But don’t let that deter you from getting covered.

As long as you provide your ITIN, proof of identity/residence, and pay your premiums, the application process should go smoothly in most cases. The insurer just wants to verify your information to prevent fraud.

Reasons to get health insurance with an ITIN

Here are some of the key benefits of having private health insurance coverage even if you have an ITIN instead of an SSN:

  • Access to health care – Being insured allows you to get routine checkups with doctors and access care when you are sick or injured. Uninsured individuals often avoid seeing doctors due to high costs.

  • Emergency care – In a medical emergency, having insurance provides access to emergency rooms and hospitals. Uninsured patients may receive large bills for ER visits.

  • Peace of mind – Health insurance provides protection from unexpected medical costs. An injury or illness can lead to thousands in bills for the uninsured.

  • Financial security – Uncovered medical bills are a leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S. Health insurance provides protection from massive debts.

  • Prescription drugs – Insurance makes prescription medications much more affordable. The uninsured pay very high rates for medications.

  • Specialty care – Seeing specialists, getting surgeries, physical therapy, etc. is extremely expensive without insurance. Coverage makes these accessible.

So while having an ITIN does limit some options, private health insurance remains accessible and critical for getting affordable health care, managing costs, and avoiding financial catastrophe from medical bills.

Immigrant health insurance resources

Finding affordable coverage options without legal status in the U.S. can be challenging, but resources are available:

  • Community health centers – Also called FQHCs, these clinics provide primary care on an income-based sliding scale for the uninsured.

  • Public hospitals – County and charity hospitals provide low-cost care and financial assistance programs for uninsured patients.

  • Private charities – Some hospitals and charities have programs to help uninsured immigrants pay for medical expenses.

  • Advocacy groups – Immigrant advocacy groups can help identify coverage and care resources in your area.

So in addition to private health insurance, alternative low-cost health care resources do exist for immigrant families. Seek out clinics, hospitals, and non-profits providing care for the uninsured.

The takeaway

Having health coverage is vital for immigrants to access care and manage costs. While government-sponsored plans are limited without legal U.S. status, private health insurance remains obtainable for those with ITIN numbers instead of SSNs.

With an ITIN, you can apply for private health plans, employer-based insurance, COBRA, and short-term health insurance. Focus on verifying eligibility, submitting your ITIN and proofs of identity/residence, using a broker, and paying premiums.

Getting insured with an ITIN provides invaluable protection against unexpected medical costs. While it may cost more than government-sponsored plans, health insurance remains a worthwhile investment in your health, financial stability, and peace of mind.

No Social Security Needed Medical Coverage


Can undocumented immigrants get health insurance in us?

Undocumented immigrants can purchase private health insurance in the U.S., as neither citizenship nor “lawfully present” status is required for private insurance eligibility. However, undocumented immigrants must purchase this insurance outside of the federal Health Insurance Marketplace.

Can you apply for Medi-Cal without a Social Security number?

If anyone on your application who otherwise qualifies for Medi-Cal does not have a satisfactory immigration status, he or she can apply for restricted Medi-Cal benefits without giving an SSN.

Can you get an insurance policy without a Social Security number?

You must provide an SSN if you (or a family member) want to apply for health insurance.

Can a foreigner get health insurance in the US?

If you are not a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or an immigrant lawfully present in the U.S., you are not eligible to buy a plan on the health insurance Marketplace. However, you can shop for health insurance outside of the Marketplace in the non-group market.

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