In this week’s episode of “Navigating Love and

Immigration,” the Megan is joined by Ryan Kennelly. With over 20 years of

experience as a senior benefits insurance consultant, Ryan is an expert in

helping individuals navigate the complex world of health insurance,

particularly visa holders and immigrants. Ryan helps Megan address some of the

most important questions she has received from clients, prospective clients,

and podcast followers regarding health insurance options for various visa

categories, such as fiancé visas, spouse visas, and green card applicants.

Ryan begins by emphasizing that the world of health

insurance is not one-size-fits-all and shares valuable insights into the

diverse options available to visa holders. These options include international

travel policies designed for temporary visitors, marketplace enrollment without

subsidies, and short-term plans with simplified application processes. He

highlights the often-overlooked fact that non-citizens can access the

marketplace, albeit without subsidies. As the conversation unfolds, it becomes

clear that navigating the intricacies of health insurance can be challenging

for newcomers, and Ryan’s expertise helps demystify the process.

The episode delves deeper into the challenges faced by

couples attempting to add their spouses to employer-sponsored health insurance

plans. Ryan clarifies that the rules may differ based on the size of the

employer. Smaller companies with fewer than 20 employees may have distinct

regulations compared to larger ones. To address these challenges, Ryan suggests

practical solutions, such as utilizing short-term coverage, marketplace plans,

or international plans to bridge coverage gaps until the next open enrollment


Ryan also shares insights into the open enrollment process,

emphasizing the significance of timing and the potential pitfalls of inadvertently

taking government benefits. He recommends applying directly through insurance

companies to avoid complications and misunderstandings. The episode underscores

the importance of clear guidance and assistance throughout the health insurance


The conversation specifically addresses the challenges faced

by couples during the process of adding a spouse to their employer-sponsored

health insurance plans. Depending on the employer’s size, rules can vary

significantly. Smaller companies with fewer than 20 employees may have legal

obligations to include spouses in the plan within 30 days of the wedding date.

In contrast, larger employers often have set open enrollment periods, typically

starting in December and covering the subsequent year.

Ryan advises couples to consider short-term coverage,

marketplace plans, or international plans as temporary solutions to bridge the

coverage gap until the next open enrollment period. It becomes evident that

immigrants and visa holders face unique obstacles in navigating the

complexities of the U.S. healthcare system.

The episode also addresses the situation where U.S. citizens

want to sponsor their parents as green card holders. Although the parents may

not be immediately eligible for Medicare, they have options. Ryan explains that

senior citizens, even those over 65, can enroll in the marketplace. He shares a

compelling example of a 90-year-old individual successfully enrolling in a

marketplace plan, illustrating that age is not a barrier. However, it is essential

to acknowledge that these plans may come at a significant cost, with no

preexisting condition exclusions.

Ryan also introduces the concept of international plans

designed explicitly for seniors. These plans may have certain waiting periods

for specific medical procedures, but they offer more cost-effective

alternatives to marketplace plans, depending on the state and its exchange


The episode highlights the existence of state-based

exchanges in some states and their potential benefits for immigrants. States

with their own exchanges, such as California, Colorado, and others, may have

more relaxed rules regarding enrollment, allowing individuals to switch plans

based on their circumstances or when they move. This discussion underscores the

importance of considering both federal and state-specific regulations.

Listeners are encouraged to explore the direct links to

Ryan’s scheduling tool, his social media profiles on LinkedIn and Instagram,

and articles he has written on related topics. You can find all of that and

more linked below.

Episode Highlights:     

  • Diverse Health Insurance Options
  • International Travel Policies
  • Marketplace Enrollment
  • Short-Term Plans
  • Navigating Open Enrollment
  • Challenges Adding Spouses
  • State-Based Exchanges
  • Health Insurance for Parents
  • Clear Guidance


“Health insurance is so important.”

“There’s no one size fits all.”

“It’s so important to show to immigration, you know, to

have this insurance.”

“Our goal is to help people, not just help you for five

seconds and then tell you, good luck.”

“You need to bridge that gap and then be able to add

your spouse later.”

“Even if they’re over 65 and they’re not eligible for

Medicare, they are eligible for the marketplace.”

“But it’s the same every year. November 1st is the

first day you can enroll, December 15th is the last day you can enroll, and the

plans start January 1st.”


Immigration for Couples Website

Immigration for Couples Facebook

Immigration for Couples Instagram

Immigration for Couples Twitter

Immigration for Couples TikTok

Immigration for Couples LinkedIn

Ryan Kennelly’s Article (Insurance for K1 Visa Applicants)

iHealthAgents Scheduling Tool

iHealth Agents Website

iHealth Agents Facebook

iHealth Agents Instagram

iHealth Agents LinkedIn

Leave a Comment