How to Apply for Medicaid

Medicaid is offered to individuals and families who have limited financial resources. It’s a state-run health program funded by both the state and federal government which provides free health insurance coverage for income eligible people. Your eligibility requirements and application procedures will vary based on the state that you live in.

Each state:

  • establishes and enforces their own eligibility requirements
  • determines what services are included under Medicaid, and how long an individual qualifies
  • establishes the cost (if any) for Medicaid services receives
  • administers their own state Medicaid program

Changes in Medicaid Eligibility

In previous years, Medicaid eligibility was based only on income levels, and provided care to very low income families. In recent years, there has been a number of changes in Medicaid eligibility requirements within each state, and now Medicaid has been expanded to provide coverage for children living in low income families, the elderly and disabled individuals, too.

You will want to start by contacting the local department of social services for the state you live in. Some states call this department “human services”, or another name. You need to contact the state department which provides financial assistance and food stamps. If you’re unsure of what this department is called in your state, you can call the county clerk building and ask for a phone number to apply for In most states, if you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you will also qualify for Medicaid. Your state can give you a list of eligibility criteria to determine if you are eligible for coverage.

What You Need to Apply for Medicaid

If you meet the income and other eligibility requirements, you can begin the application process for Medicaid. You will need the following information available to apply:

  • a birth certificate, or other proof of age
  • a social security card or proof of citizenship/alien status
  • proof of residence (lease, mortgage statement, envelope received in the mail)
  • documentation of all income sources including employment, retirement, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Veteran’s Benefits, child support, alimony, gifts, etc.
  • insurance card if you currently have other health insurance

There are enrollment facilitators available to assist you with filling out your Medicaid application and determining eligibility. You can also obtain this assistance from your home if you’re unable to get to the government office, just call and request assistance and explain the situation.

When filling out your Medicaid application, make sure that all information you provide is 100% accurate to the best of your ability, as providing fraudulent information in order to qualify for Medicaid is a crime punishable by law.

What Services are Provided by Medicaid?

Eligibility Applying for Medicaid

Each state determines exactly what services are provided by Medicaid, but there are some federal mandates all programs must provide. The mandated services that all state Medicaid programs must offer include:

  • prenatal care
  • nurse-midwife services
  • children’s vaccines
  • pediatric care
  • family nurse practitioner services
  • family planning services and supplies
  • inpatient and outpatient hospital service
  • laboratory and x-ray service

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