How to Apply for MedicaidHow to Apply for Medicaid

Medicaid is a free or low-cost health care system that can provide health coverage to low-income people.  Families, children, the elderly, and those with disabilities can all take advantage of Medicaid, but they need to meet certain requirements to qualify.  Because Medicaid is a program that is run jointly between the federal and state government, requirements will vary from state to state.  Applying for Medicaid does not have to be a difficult or complicated process.  Here you will find an overview of eligibility requirements and how to apply for Medicaid coverage.

Eligibility Requirements for Medicaid

There are two different requirements that you have to meet to be eligible for Medicaid.  States don’t have to cover every eligibility group so you will have to make sure that you check for what your state covers.  For the most part though, you must meet general requirements and financial requirements.

General Requirements

You may be eligible for Medicaid if you are getting benefits from the Supplemental Security Income program or if you’re disabled and living with an income below the federal poverty level.  You can also be eligible for Medicaid if:

  • You are over 65
  • You have a permanent disability
  • You are blind
  • You are a pregnant woman
  • You are a child or are the parent or caretaker of a child

You must also be:

  • A US citizen or meet certain immigration laws
  • A resident of the state you are applying in
  • Have a Social Security Number

Financial Requirements

To be eligible for Medicaid, you must also meet certain financial requirements.  You must have limited income and assets to be considered.  When you apply for Medicaid, they will look at all of your income and determine whether you meet the financial income level.  Your income can come from a few different sources, which can include:

  • Salaries
  • Pensions
  • Veterans benefits
  • Wages
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Regular payments from Social Security

Even if your income level is higher than your state’s requirement, you can still be eligible for Medicaid if you are medically needy.  Under Medicaid spend down rules, you can subtract your medical expenses from your total income to become financially eligible.  These rules will vary from state to state, and you can call your local Medicaid office to learn more.

The Application Process

Applying for Medicaid is very simple, and there are a few different ways that you can apply.  The two main things that you will need to do is fill out an application form and provide the proper documentation to prove you meet the general and financial requirements.  If you own your home, the state may also ask for the fair market value as well as a current tax bill, a real estate appraisal, or copies of your mortgage.

Each state has local Medicaid offices where you can pick up and file your application.  They also sometimes have other locations throughout the state to make sure that they can serve everybody.  If you can’t make it to the Medicaid office to apply, you can appoint someone to apply for you or call the local office and apply over the phone.  It can take Medicaid up to 45 days to process your application, and up to 90 days if there is a disability determination.  As long as you have all the proper documents ready when needed, the process should go smoothly.

Medicaid can provide important medical services when you need them most.  It can seem like a very complicated process that will take a long time, but that doesn’t have to be true.  If you want to learn about your state’s coverage and eligibility requirements, you can visit Medicaid.gov and click on your state to see all the rules and contact your local office.

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