Healthy Living

What is Medicaid?

What is Medicaid?

Key Takeaways

  • Medicaid is a health insurance program for individuals who have low incomes.
  • Medicaid can cover a multitude of services, depending on the state.

Medicaid is a health insurance program by the federal government to cover the finances for basic health and long-term care of low-income individuals. Unlike the Medicare, which is available to every citizen over the age of 65-years-old, Medicaid is available only for people with low-income, limited resources, or with certain diseases. This insurance program is run by the respective state governments based on the general guidelines put forward by the federal government. As each state decides on the specific group of people who are eligible for this service, the program may differ from state-to-state. Those who are eligible for the program will get low-cost health care and can avoid buying a Marketplace plan.

The program is administered by the Division of Health Care Services. To sign for the services, one needs to contact the Medicaid office of their state. The services can be availed based on the eligibility criteria of the particular state. It may depend on an individual's age, how many members in his or her family, whether the individual is pregnant or not, or in the individual has certain diseases or disabilities. In some cases, even if the parent is not eligible for the service, the child might be able to avail the service. The cost of the program also varies from state-to-state. Medicaid has more comprehensive health coverage, when compared to Medicare. Hospital stays, doctor’s appointments, tests, and even some amount home medical care. The specifics of the coverage also differ depending on the state. Recipients of Medicaid can also avail other services and programs administered by the Division of Public Assistance (DPA), depending on the state which they are in.

In some cases, people may be eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare programs, and these people are known as dual eligibles. The Medicaid eligibility is now expanding in many states and many more people are expected to qualify for the program in the coming year. If somebody is not eligible for Medicaid, they can still get the support of Marketplace health plan to cover the health care costs. If the Medicaid plan is providing only for limited benefits, like covering family planning, emergency Medicaid, outpatient services, and tuberculosis, more coverage can be obtained through the Health Insurance Marketplace. The monthly premiums and other costs may reduce depending on family size and income.