Good news for foreign workers in California: the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, will cover H-1 workers and other foreign nationals living and working in the U.S.
Foreign workers with legal residence and employment in the US will have to adhere to the same medical insurance rules as all U.S. citizens. From January 1, 2014, employees must maintain a 'minimum level' of medical insurance coverage either independently or through an employer that covers themselves and their dependents.
Regulations of the ACA will also extend to Indian companies whose employees are working abroad or hold branches or subsidiaries in the U.S. Any employer who has 50 or more full-time workers is required to provide sufficient health coverage to their employees or pay a penalty tax.
Smaller companies—fewer than 50 employees—will still be affected by ACA rules, although the insurance options are more complicated. Many small companies who previously did not provide medical coverage or had made it optional are working to create plans that meet ACA's requirements.
Generally speaking, an Indian company’s insurance that covers at least 60 percent of the cost of a medical plan will meet ACA guidelines. If an employer does not provide medical insurance, they are liable for the portion of the cost of the employee’s independent policy according to state exchanges.
Employees who are living and working in the U.S. under a parent company in India may purchase a policy at home provided the insurance meets the ACA requirements of 'minimum essential coverage,' such as outpatient medical treatments and emergency room visits.