Medicaid is a US health program for certain people who meet various living circumstances and income qualifications. The program is jointly run by each state and the federal government, and different states may have varied instructions for how to enroll in Medicaid. Prior to enrolling, people should make certain that they meet qualifications for eligibility, and should prepare some documentation to prove this.
Those eligible for Medicaid include families with very low income, pregnant women with low income, seniors who cannot meet costs for supplemental Medicare insurance, those with permanent disabilities, and people with kids that are wards of the state. Single people with very low income may not qualify, though some do, and it is worth applying to determine if getting Medicaid is possible.
Where to enroll in Medicaid may depend on how a person or family qualifies and on each state’s requirements. Those who are disabled and who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may automatically qualify for Medicaid, and might not even need to enroll in it, though they should check this with the local Social Security office. Others might apply through Welfare programs, state Health and Human Services departments, and some people fill out applications at hospitals for themselves or others. When unsure where to apply, people can call the local Social Security office, or the state Human Services department to find the correct place to get paperwork and apply.
Most people will need proof of current income if they receive any, and a social security number. Other details that might be required to enroll in Medicaid are things like address, names of doctors if trying to prove a disability, and names and perhaps social security numbers of any children in the household. These applications are typically long and if they are not completed fully, they may be rejected, or Medicaid may be denied.
Another program administered through the federal Health and Human Services Department that is also jointly run by the states is the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This program allows parents or guardians low income ranges to apply for very low cost insurance for their kids, and it may be an option for those children who wouldn’t qualify to enroll in Medicaid. SCHIP applications can be available in a variety of locations, and may even come home in information packets at the beginning of each school year. If this is not the case, contacting the local Health and Human Services Department can usually quickly locate an application form.
Application for Medicaid doesn’t always work initially. An application form to enroll in Medicaid is not the same as being automatically accepted into the program, and some people immediately are denied Medicaid benefits. This could be for a number of reasons, including that an application was not completed fully. People do have the right to contest a denial in a hearing, to which they can bring an attorney or other representatives. There are Medicaid attorneys that can help reverse denial decisions, but some people applying may have a hard time affording an attorney because their financial circumstances are already difficult.