Question: My mother came in May 2013. Up to today, she has lived in the U.S. for 1.5 years. She just got her green card couple weeks ago. Can she qualify for Medicare as she never works in US or lives in US for 5 years? If she can't qualify for Medicare, can she get any healthcare plan with good medical coverage (> $1million)
Answer: Yes. You can enroll your 80-year-old mother in health insurance through Covered California even though she never worked in the US as long as she has legal residency in California. In fact, the only way to get her covered right now is through Covered Ca. She may be eligible for premium assistance otherwise the monthly cost will be pretty high as she will pay the monthly rate of a 64-year-old, the highest rate. Mom will be eligible for Medicare in 3.5 years, so she can use the Covered California coverage in the meantime. Longer term, she should apply for Medicare as soon as possible. Start at medicare.gov. She will have to pay for Medicare and cancel her Covered california coverage at that time.