One of the most costly expenses individuals face these days are medical bills. With costs for medical care rising drastically over the past few decades, it has become harder for millions to find health insurance they can afford to maintain. As a result, many people have had to turn to a federally developed public health plan designed to help those who are most in need. Medicaid was developed along with Medicare in 1965, but with the aim of helping a larger segment of the population.
Medicaid was designed to assist specific individuals with low incomes and little to no assets that could be sold for cash. While Medicare is designed to assist only senior citizens over 65 and certain individuals with disabilities; Medicaid is designed to help individuals of any age who are living in poverty and cannot afford health care. The following are a few examples of individuals who could fill out a Medicaid application for enrollment:
• Low income families with children
• Disabled children (living with biological parents or foster parents)
• Pregnant women
• Those with certain disabilities
• Senior citizens in need of nursing care
Any of the above individuals must prove that they are unable to provide medical care for themselves due to financial limitations. Proof of financial limitation is a major part of the Medicaid application process.
Individuals who are considering filling out a Medicaid application first need to gather as much information as possible about their situation in life. The biggest step in the application process requires an individual to prove they are eligible for Medicaid. Before filling out a Medicaid application make sure the following items are available:
• Social Security number
• Proof of disability from a qualified doctor (if applicable)
• Proof of income and assets (bank statements, list of assets, mortgage paperwork, etc)
When filling out a Medicaid application it is in the best interest of the individual to be able to provide as much information as possible in order to establish eligibility. By law, states have 45 days to process all Medicaid applications, and as much as 90 days for applications involving disabled individuals. Because of the extended period of time involved in processing a Medicaid application, it is vital for individuals to provide the most accurate information they can to avoid being denied on a technicality.
Medicaid applications can be found at the official website of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). However, because the federal government is not responsible for determining eligibility an application obtained through their site goes directly to the appropriate health office in the state an applicant resides in. To make the process easier, the CMS has links to each of the state health offices in charge of handling Medicaid applications.
Individuals might be best served however finding the local county office in their area in charge of handling Medicaid applications. At one of these locations an individual will be able to speak to an individual, and while it is hard to guarantee it, this may make it easier to get a completed Medicaid application filled out accurately the first time.
Those who are in need of immediate assistance from Medicaid can receive care while their application is pending. In a lot of cases there will be certain local hospitals in each state that are willing to provide free care, more or less, for an individual who has a Medicaid application pending.
Once a year Medicaid officials must conduct a review of those individuals using the service. These reviews are usually conducted without the assistance of the applicant and will be looking to establish continued eligibility. A new Medicaid application does not need to be filled out to maintain coverage, but keeping up to date records available for Medicaid to see will help an individual avoid having their coverage ended. In particular, officials will be looking for any change in circumstances, especially financial standing.
Medicaid is a vital program for those with limited financial resources. It fills an important role in trying to assist as many families, children, and senior citizens as possible with medical expenses.