Are You an Immigrant? ESO, MOMS and the Marketplace

To be qualified for full Medicaid, you must not only be income eligible and "lawfully present" in the United States, but also be either a citizen of the United States, or a "qualified" immigrant--typically a Permanent Resident card holder for at least five years. Of course there are some exceptions... refugees, for example, but we'll get to that another time. While people who don't meet that criteria cannot get full Medicaid, there are several other ways for them to access health coverage.

Emergency Services Only (ESO): Regardless of residency status, anyone living in Michigan that would otherwise qualify for Medicaid, can receive ESO. This means that in the case of an emergency, they can go to the hospital and not be left with medical bills. ESO covers bills only in the case of a true emergency. For example, falling down and breaking your leg or having a heart attack is certainly an emergency. ESO may not cover a situation not seen as a true emergency, perhaps going to the ER to get a strep throat test. While it is up to the doctor and hospital to determine what qualifies, if you are in need of medical attention, worry about possible bills later, and immediately seek the care you need.

Maternity Outpatient Medical Services (MOMS): A pregnant women who would qualify for coverage except for her immigration status can apply for MOMS, which covers bills related to the pregnancy. This includes prenatal visits, the delivery and postpartum care for two calender months after the pregnancy ends. The MOMS program is in place in hopes that the infant, who will likely be a born a U.S. citizen, has proper medical care while in utero.

To apply for ESO Medicaid and MOMS, one uses the same application as one does to apply for full Medicaid: link.

Marketplace: Neither ESO or MOMS coverage meet the minimum standards of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. A person with any "authorized" status in the U.S. (Permanent Resident card, Work Permit, student visa etc.) may need to look to the Marketplace to have coverage that meets the mandate, though they can still have the ESO and/or MOMS to supplement. The Marketplace application is found online at

Helpful Hint: Sometimes the application process can be confusing! We are here to help you. We have English, Spanish, Arabic and French speakers in our office--and if you speak another language, we have access to Language Line interpretation.Please call us at (734) 544-3030 or walk into our offices, Monday through Friday, 9-4, to get the help that you need! 

-Haley Haddad

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