Do you know how to apply for Medicaid? Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides free or low-cost health coverage to millions of Americans, including some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. The federal government provides a portion of the funding for Medicaid and sets guidelines for the program. Medicaid programs vary from state to state. They may also have different names, like “Medical Assistance” or “Medi-Cal.”
Apply for Medicaid
Basically, Medicaid is the nation’s public health insurance program for people with low income. The Medicaid program covers one in every five Americans, including many with complex and costly needs for care. The program is the principal source of long-term care coverage for Americans. The vast majority of Medicaid enrollees lack access to other affordable health insurance.
The public health insurance program covers a broad array of health services and limits enrollee out-of-pocket costs. Medicaid finances nearly a fifth of all personal health care spending in the U.S., providing significant financing for hospitals, community health centers, physicians, nursing homes, and jobs in the health care sector.
Eligibility varies by state but in order to be eligible to apply for Medicaid, applicants are generally required to meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Applicant must be a resident of the state in which they are applying
- Applicant must be someone whose financial situation would be characterized as low income or very low income
- Applicant must be a citizen of the United States or certain qualified non-citizens, such as lawful permanent residents.
Application for Medicaid
Although the rules may differ from state to state, the basic process for application for Medicaid is similar.
- Visit Healthcare.gov: healthcare.gov is not just for buying a private plan. You can also find out if you qualify for Medicaid on the platform. You will be asked a series of questions regarding your monthly income, your family size, and where you live. Based on your answers, healthcare.gov will let you know whether or not you may qualify for Medicaid.
- Fill the application: If your state is running its own Marketplace, healthcare.gov will automatically redirect you to your state’s website to start an application. Otherwise, you can start an application on healthcare.gov that will automatically be forwarded to your state’s Medicaid office for a determination on whether or not you qualify. You can apply for Medicaid at any time of year, not just during Marketplace Open Enrollment. You can download and print the form from your state’s Medicaid website.
- Gather up documentation: Your state will need to see some personal and financial information to make sure you are eligible. The specifics vary from state to state. But you might need to submit:
- A tax bill for your home
- A copy of your birth certificate
- A pay stub to prove how much you earn
- Bank statements
- Your Social Security number
- Other personal information
Double-check the list to make sure you have everything you need. Note that if you have a disability, it can take longer to process your application. It may take up to 90 days. You may also have to wait longer if you don’t get all the paperwork in on time. Try to provide everything promptly. If you don’t meet the deadlines or don’t provide what is needed, Medicaid may reject your application. Then you’ll have to apply all over again.