Medicaid can be incredibly confusing, but fear not! Here’s a Medicaid walkthrough that will serve as a quick guide to how it works and what it covers.
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that helps those with low-income pay for medical costs. The federal government funds up to 50% of the cost of each state’s Medicaid program, with more affluent states receiving less funding. Because of this federal/state partnership, there are actually 50 different Medicaid programs – one for each state.
Many states require Medicaid recipients to have no more than a few thousand dollars in liquid assets to participate in the program. There are also income restrictions. While the program is federally mandated to serve the poor, just being poor may not be enough to qualify for Medicaid. Other eligibility requirements are in place to ensure that the program serves specific groups, such as families, pregnant women, children, caretakers of children, the disabled and the elderly. Services vary by state, but the federal government mandates coverage for the following services when they are deemed “medically necessary”:
Each state also has the option of including additional benefits. People covered by Medicaid pay nothing for these covered services. Medicaid is also often used to fund long-term care, which is not covered by Medicare or by most private health insurance policies.
You may be eligible for Medicaid if you meet the requirements for your state. In addition to having limited income and resources, you may be asked the following questions:
Most renewals of your Medicaid coverages are on an annual basis. You will receive a renewal packet by mail prior to your renewal date. Your packet will let you know if there are other methods available to you for recertification such as phone or internet renewal.
Please note that Medicaid mail cannot be forwarded. This means that if you changed your address at the post office and not with the Medicaid office, you will not receive your Medicaid mail. You must notify your Medicaid office of all address changes to ensure you receive any notices sent by them.