Medicaid is how the United States provides partial health resources to families and individuals with a low income. Medicaid also covers a number of other families and individuals who may or may not be impoverished. Currently, Medicaid covers roughly 50 million people and is growing yearly. After turning in their Medicaid qualifications and being approved, families and individuals with coverage receive a number of benefits.
Families and individuals who may have Medicaid qualifications include:
Although eligibility may vary, people who fall into any of these categories should visit with a Medicaid caseworker. Proper documentation can be arranged and submitted to Medicaid if a caseworker determines that people are eligible. Medicaid applicants may receive retroactive coverage up to 3 months prior to application. Retroactive coverage only applies if applicants were eligible during the retroactive months.
Exact eligibility for Medicaid is determined by each state. The federal government sets basic guidelines for the states, but each state is in charge of its own Medicaid program. This results in a wide variety of eligibility requirements, even for states that are neighbors. Because of the differences in requirements, it’s important for prospective applicants to speak with a caseworker.
The federal government’s matching funds also differ depending upon the state. Matching funds are money that the federal government gives to the states that equals or is a certain percentage of what the states put into the Medicaid program. Per capita income is used to determine matching funds. Wealthier states are capped at the amount of matching funds they can receive. Poorer states receive more for their Medicaid programs.
Medicaid is designed to cover most or all of the medical bills for an enrolled person. Medicaid can cover dental surgery or something such as mental health services. It typically does not pay for purely cosmetic or elective medicines and surgeries. As of 2006, all of Medicaid paid nearly $241 billion for health care bills.
Medicaid’s future remains uncertain. It is consistently a contentious topic in politics. Medicaid is unlikely to be completely eliminated. However, eligibility and co-pay requirements may become stricter since Medicaid is a significant part of federal and state government budgets.
As of 2010, at least 20 states had reduced or had plans to reduce certain Medicaid benefits. This is twice the number of states who reduced their Medicaid benefits in 2009. However, 41 states made it easier to apply for or remain in Medicaid. Some states such as Colorado even broadened eligibility for their Medicaid programs. Although states are generally moving to reduce some benefits, they are also making it easier to enroll or stay in Medicaid.
By documenting their Medicaid qualifications, eligible families and individuals can receive health care assistance from the government. Unexpected medical bills are one of the leading causes of financial hardship. By applying for Medicaid, families and individuals can receive help with paying for recurring and sudden medical bills. Eligible people should document their need and visit with a Medicaid caseworker as soon as possible.