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About HalfWayMark

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    Junior Member
  • Member # 313468

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Immigration Info

  • Immigration Status
    IR-1/CR-1 Visa
  • Place benefits filed at
    Chicago Lockbox
  • Local Office
    Portland OR
  • Country

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  1. I'm the OP, from almost a year ago. At the time, the administration had not imposed the requirement of proving the immigrant would have health insurance within 30 days of arrival. For a sponsor who doesn't have employer-provided health insurance, it's near impossible to meet the 30-day limit (although proving you tried might be sufficient). So there are two kinds of US-citizen sponsors: 1) Those who have employer-provided health care, in which you add your immigrant spouse to the policy. And 2) Those of us who don't, and who need to get insurance on the exchange or the private market. Those of us in the 2nd group don't have many options. Every state has different laws regulating Short Term Medical (STM) policies, so you have to check with your state health commissioner what options you have. STM policies are practically useless, since they have all sorts of conditions. Applying on the ACA health exchange (or going directly to a health care provider for ACA qualifying coverage) is the only way to get "true" qualifying coverage. But the ACA has rules that prevent insuring an immigrant until they physically enter the country, and further rules that can prevent coverage from starting up to 45 days later. A STM policy can bridge this, but as I said, try not to get sick. That's my experience in lining up health insurance for my spouse. But I don't know what it takes to satisfy the new "30-day requirement" for health insurance. Edit: Oh -- STM is not the same as Traveler's insurance. If your spouse is immigrating, they are not a "Traveler". If in doubt about what kind of temporary policy you need, read the policy coverage. See previous threads for more information:
  2. I'm surprised, I've only seen one mention of Transferwise (online: transferwise.com -- not affiliated in any way). It seems Xoom is pretty popular, but I just checked -- at the moment Xoom's exchange rate is 48.173 . Transferwise is at 49.89 . Transferwise always uses the "real exchange rate" (their words), and it's always 0.1 or 0.2 pesos above the rate I see on yahoo finance, which is my exchange rate bible. Fees for Xoom and Transferwise are about the same for a bank transfer, although if you set up and fund an account at Transferwise, their fees are vanishingly small. Transferwise is fast and always reliable -- but they only do bank transfers, not cash pickup or delivery. I might be cheap, but saving $8 - $20 (fees and exchange rate) helps out at both ends.
  3. I believe you mean "Medicaid". It's also known by different names in each state (e.g., Apple Health in state of Washington).
  4. It appears you plan to buy "private insurance" (that is, not through an employer). I do know from personal experience with ACA plans that it's tough to get coverage activated within 30 days of immigrating. The Catch-22: under the ACA, an immigrant has a "qualifying event" upon entering the U.S. But the ACA states that the immigrant cannot apply until the event happens (and within 60 days). If you apply before the 15th of the month, then coverage would begin the following month. If applying after the 15th, coverage is delayed until the first of the NEXT FOLLOWING month. Add to that the time it takes to register, choose a plan, submit qualifying documents (which can take weeks) -- it's very likely that you could go 45+ days until coverage begins. The effect on the immigrant isn't the ACA's fault, it's the Executive Order that imposed the "30 days" rule. I suspect the.... um... office that instated it knew full well the situation. Most immigrant sponsors have employer-based insurance, I suspect. But for those of us who don't, it's maddening. I don't know specifically about the DS-5540 and its requirements, as my wife immigrated in August 2019. But I had to wrestle with this situation; it would be unconscionable to bring an immigrant to the U.S. without some kind of health insurance. Short-term health insurance does not qualify as "ACA qualifying coverage", so it's likely that wouldn't satisfy the DS-5540 requirement (just guessing). Short-term is next to worthless, but better than nothing for the period you're waiting for ACA coverage. Every U.S. state has different rules for short-term insurance, so what's available in one state might not be in another. Just my guess, but I think all you can do, and what you need to do, is demonstrate your intention and ability to pay for coverage on the ACA exchange at the earliest date possible. Link to my thread on my health insurance dilemma: www.visajourney.com/forums/topic/709433-health-insurance-for-new-arrivals-lpr-and-usc/
  5. OP here, I don't have much to explain about resolving the issue. This was a year ago, and I'm going by memory... The document I was trying to upload never got uploaded. I printed it and also printed an explanation of the problem with the website, in case during the interview they were needed. Just in case the CO asked. But he didn't, the document wasn't needed at all. This was for my wife's IR-1 interview at the Manila, Philippines, embassy. If I remember, the document in question was an NBI (police clearance) with birth name -- so everybody's situation might be different, depending on the importance of the documents, the location of the interview, and the CO himself/herself. I guess it's not surprising that this issue is still around, CEAC seems to be swamped and unresponsive to website issues. If all else fails, I'd recommend bringing a printed copy of the document to the interview and explain the problem.
  6. Need some help here.... Trying to get medical insurance lined up for my family when we arrive in the US. We're currently in the Philippines. My wife's IR-1 was approved, and we (including our 2-year-old USC) are flying to the US on August 31. I timed it so I could enroll them in a health insurance plan to begin on September 1. I'm thorough when it comes to this stuff -- not gonna take any chances on astronomical medical bills. I started this search early so I'd have it lined up for September, but hit a brick wall. Our home is (will be) in Washington state; each state has different regulations so I hope someone in our boat can help. I'm retired, on Medicare -- so I don't have the option of adding them on employer-based health insurance. I've looked into the state ACA exchange (simply for signing up for insurance, I don't expect subsidies because of our income). But the exchange has lengthy and complicated rules regarding LPRs, which would take months to meet (such as mailing in copies of the PR, providing SSN, etc.) None of these will be in-hand until my wife enters the country on August 31. Entering the US after having lived in a foreign country is one of the qualifying "life events" for "special enrollment" in ACA or private insurance (at least for "minimal essential coverage" to meet ACA requirements; I don't want a useless stop-gap policy). However, I'm told that both my wife and child cannot enroll in insurance until the "event" (entering the US) happens, and for 60 days afterward. If you apply after the 15th of the month, coverage starts 2 months later; thus, no way I can start them until October 1. Going without insurance is downright scary. I've called and chatted with a primary insurance company (Kaiser Permanente), hoping to purchase a family plan for wife and kid. But they say they follow the above "60 days after the event" rule. I'm floored....... That means returning US citizens and immigrants simply can't get health insurance (real insurance, "minimal essential coverage") for 4-6 weeks after entry to the US. I'll keep needling Kaiser, and hopefully I can engage Washington's ACA exchange with this problem. But I've dealt with both before and it takes months to get useful resolutions on health care. So -- has anyone been in this situation? Or know a good short-term health insurance option for Washington state? I've googled everywhere, and most websites say "not available in your area". The only thing I can find is "accident insurance" (also "travel insurance", same thing in this case). That would be my last resort, as they don't cover illnesses or checkups or lab tests, etc. They also don't cover pre-existing conditions, which I know lets them off the hook for everything. Any experience with trustworthy short-term health insurance (with policies available in Washington state) would be appreciated. Thanks, Mark
  7. I wonder if anyone else has had this problem recently.... I've uploaded an additional document requested by the embassy, in the "Affidavit of Support" section (the document status shows "Uploaded"). I've been trying to "submit" the document for days. But the "Submit Documents" button is dead -- it doesn't do anything. I've tried many workarounds -- different browsers, deleting the uploaded document and re-uploading, ... But to no effect. I've been logging in for several days to try all my workarounds again and again, but the button is definitely broken. I notice that the same "Submit Documents" button in the "Applicant Information" section DOES work, since I uploaded and submitted an additional document there. When logging in to CEAC, there's a message that the site will be down on Monday April 29, so possibly they'll fix this issue. I hope.... In the meantime, we'll just have to bring the additional AOS supporting document to the embassy interview in two weeks. Not enough time to email CEAC or call from overseas about this website problem. I'm referring to the "Submit Documents" button, in the AOS section of our CEAC account:
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