Medical costs are high, and health insurance can be costly as well. Individuals in a lower income bracket may find it difficult, if not impossible, to pay health insurance premiums or the cost of medical bills. Medicaid is a system by which those individuals or families with a lower income can obtain assistance with medical expenses.
Both the Federal and state government fund Medicaid plans in states across the nation. Each state is responsible for implementing its own plan, and the guidelines may vary somewhat from one region of the country to another. But the basic guidelines remain the same for Medicaid.
A low income is not the only criteria that must be met in order to be eligible for Medicaid. There are a few other factors that are taken into consideration.
- U.S. Citizenship.
The Department of Human Services or Social Security Office in your area can provide you with an application to be filled out in order to be evaluated for Medicaid plans. The application can be completed by going to the office, by phone or by mail. You may be able to fill it out online. This application will ask for a good deal of pertinent information that will help to evaluate your eligibility for receiving Medicaid benefits. You will also need to submit certain documents along with your application. These documents may include those listed below.
- Social Security card.
- Birth Certificate.
- Medicare card, if applicable.
- ID cards and coverage information on other health insurance you may have.
- Monthly expenses you are responsible for paying, including rent, utility bills and insurance premiums. You will need to document the last three months of expenses.
- Copies of your paycheck stubs for the last three months.
- Bank statements on any checking and savings accounts, as well as documentation on stocks, bonds, IRAs, CDs, Keoghs and other financial investments. Pertaining to bank accounts, your documentation will need to provide information for the last 36 months’ of activity on your account. You will also need to provide documentation on any bank accounts that have been closed within the last 36 months.
- Titles to automobiles.
- Deeds to any property that you own.
- Marriage Certificate if your spouse is still living, Death Certificate if your spouse is deceased.
Your local Medicaid office will evaluate your application along with the documentation you have submitted to ascertain if you are eligible for Medicaid plans. If you are accepted into the Medicaid program, your coverage may actually start three months before the date of your application. Any medical expense that you incurred in that period of time will be paid through Medicaid.
You may have a situation where a disabled child lives with you but you do not fall within the requirements for Medicaid eligibility. The child may still be eligible, as his or her status is what is considered by Medicaid, not your status. The Medicaid rules differ when it comes to disabled children and also those who are required to enter a nursing home.
If you already have Medicare, you may still be eligible for Medicaid. In a situation where you have both forms of insurance, your medical expenses will first be paid by Medicare. Whatever amount Medicare does not pay is then covered by Medicaid.
Even if you are uncertain whether you would qualify for Medicaid plans, it would still be to your benefit to apply for it and allow the Medicaid representatives to evaluate your situation and come to a final decision. If your income and financial assets disqualify you from Medicaid benefits, you should reapply if your financial situation changes in the future. You should also understand that if you have Medicaid and your financial situation changes for the better, you may lose your Medicaid benefits as you will no longer fit the requirements pertaining to income and/or financial assets.
There are also situations where an individual may be above the amount allowed for income but would still qualify for Medicaid plans benefits because of urgent medical needs. If this may pertain to you, definitely check it out in order to get the assistance you need.