Are H-2A Workers Eligible to Enroll in Coverage and Receive Subsidies Under the Affordable Care Act?

Yes. Because they are in the United States lawfully on non-immigrant visas, H-2A workers are eligible to purchase an insurance policy through the federal Marketplace and to receive a tax credit to help pay for that insurance coverage. If an H-2A worker desires to buy health insurance in the federal marketplace and wants to apply for the federal tax credit, he may do so, as long as he meets the income eligibility requirements.

Does the Affordable Care Act Require H-2A Workers to Enroll in Health Coverage?

It depends. H-2A workers are required to enroll in health insurance under the ACA only if they are required to pay taxes in the United States. If they a) earn enough money to be required to file income taxes, and b) meet the definition of a “resident alien” under the tax code, then they are required to pay taxes and required to enroll in health coverage unless they meet one of the other exceptions.

The definition of “resident alien” is complicated, and can be found in IRS Publication 851.1 Since H-2A workers are not legal permanent residents, they would have to meet the “substantial presence test” regarding how many days they have been here in the U.S. in order to be considered “resident aliens.”