For those citizens of the United States, as well as for legal immigrants who cannot afford health care due to lack of financial resources, there is help in the form of a government program known as Medicaid. Although this program is not available to everyone, it does allow many groups of people who would otherwise be without health care to gain access to health care benefits. It is a wonderful program designed to help those that cannot afford to help themselves. The Medicaid program can be broken down and described by the following basic characteristics:
- Need based
- Run by the state
- Administered by the Division of Family and Children
Many people are familiar with Medicare, yet many are not as familiar with its’ counterpart, Medicaid. The Medicaid program is completely separate from Medicare. Medicare is administered by the United States Social Security Administration, and is based on age, not on need. The Medicaid program is administered through each state’s Division of Family and Children, formerly referred to as the Welfare Department. It is important to note that while Medicare is not based on financial status, the Medicaid program runs solely off limited income and resources. To be considered eligible for Medicaid, recipients must fall into a certain income bracket set forth by their state and they must show financial need.
The Medicaid program is jointly funded by both local and federal governments. That being said, the states are the ones charged with determining the requirements for eligibility. Each county in any given state has a designated office for needy families to inquire about this program. As previously mentioned, these are the same offices that were once known as the Welfare Departments. These offices are currently known as the Division of Family and Children.
In respect to the state having control of the Medicaid program, it is important to note that it is not required by law for all states to participate. Since Medicaid was created in 1965 though, all states have continued to participate. Interestingly enough, some states contract out insurance providers to take care of the Medicaid program and other states pay the health care providers directly. Again, all of these different factors truly depend on which state is being referenced.
Not only does the Medicaid program include health care benefits, it also provides dental benefits. It is important to note that while the program offers dental benefits, it is not required for persons over the age of 21. However, any recipient under the age of 21 is required to maintain the dental benefits of the program.
While many people throughout the country receive the benefits of the Medicaid program, there has been a growing concern amongst government officials regarding the funding, or lack of funding, required to maintain this program. In the present economic times, there has been a rise in enrollment for the Medicaid program of about 15% per state. Consequently, this has added a severe financial strain on various states attempting to keep up with the rising costs of administering the program.
Overall, Medicaid is a vital program that provides health insurance to many Americans who are lacking the finances and resources to buy private health insurance. In light of today’s economic downturn, it is a huge relief to know that for eligible participants, health care will always be taken care of if financial distress were to come your way.