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Medicaid

Medicaid is a health program for individuals and families with low incomes and resources. It is jointly funded by the states and federal government, and is managed by the states. Among the groups of people served by Medicaid are eligible low-income parents, children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health-related services for people with limited income.

Eligibility

Since each state runs its own program, the eligibility rules vary from state to state, allthough all states my follow the same basic framework.

Many groups of people are covered by Medicaid. Even within these groups, though, certain requirements must be met. These may include your age, whether you are pregnant, disabled, blind, or aged; your income and resources (like bank accounts, real property, or other items that can be sold for cash); and whether you are a U.S. citizen or a lawfully admitted immigrant. The rules for counting your income and resources vary from state to state and from group to group. There are special rules for those who live in nursing homes and for disabled children living at home.

Your child may be eligible for coverage if he or she is a U.S. citizen or a lawfully admitted immigrant, even if you are not (however, there is a 5-year limit that applies to lawful permanent residents). Eligibility for children is based on the child's status, not the parent's. Also, if someone else's child lives with you, the child may be eligible even if you are not because your income and resources will not count for the child.

In general, you should apply for Medicaid if you have limited income and resources. You must match one of the descriptions below. (Even if you are not sure whether you qualify, if you or someone in your family needs health care, you should apply for Medicaid and have a qualified caseworker in your state evaluate your situation.)

Pregnant Women

Apply for Medicaid if you think you are pregnant. You may be eligible if you are married or single. If you are on Medicaid when your child is born, both you and your child will be covered.

Children and Teenagers

Apply for Medicaid if you are the parent or guardian of a child who is 18 years old or younger and your family's income is limited, or if your child is sick enough to need nursing home care, but could stay home with good quality care at home. If you are a teenager living on your own, the state may allow you to apply for Medicaid on your own behalf or any adult may apply for you. Many states also cover children up to age 21.

Person who is Aged, Blind, and/or Disabled

Apply if you are aged (65 years old or older), blind, or disabled and have limited income and resources. Apply if you are terminally ill and want to get hospice services. Apply if you are aged, blind, or disabled; live in a nursing home; and have limited income and resources. Apply if you are aged, blind, or disabled and need nursing home care, but can stay at home with special community care services. Apply if you are eligible for Medicare and have limited income and resources.

Other Situations

Apply if you are leaving welfare and need health coverage. Apply if you are a family with children under age 18 and have limited income and resources. (You do not need to be receiving a welfare check.) Apply if you have very high medical bills, which you cannot pay (and you are pregnant, under age 18 or over age 65, blind, or disabled).


How To Apply For Medicaid

Step 1: Contact your local state Department of Social Services or Human Services. Your state may have a different name for this agency. It is the agency that provides food stamps and financial assistance. Call your county building and ask for the name of it if you don't know it.

Step 2: Ask for a Medicaid application. You will need to complete it in the office.

Step 3: Take your birth certificate, driver's license, pay stubs, Social Security card, proof of address, proof of other insurance if you have it and information about any bank accounts you have.

Step 4: Be prepared to answer questions about your finances. Eligibility is based on your income level.

If you would like to apply but are unable to leave home, you can request assistance at home.

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