What Is Medicaid, and Who Is Eligible?

Medicaid is a complimentary or inexpensive nationwide public health insurance coverage program covering more than 74 million Americans, consisting of qualified low-income grownups, pregnant ladies, kids, older grownups and individuals with specials needs.

Medicaid is the single greatest source of medical insurance in the nation, guaranteeing about 1 in 5 Americans.

Although Medicaid is moneyed by both specific states and the federal government, it’s handled by states. Each state might likewise call its Medicaid program by a various name. For circumstances, in Hawaii it’s called Med Quest, and in Louisiana the program is called Healthy Louisiana. (Check the name in your state.)

Medicaid eligibility

Eligibility for Medicaid differs by state, however the following guidelines typically use:

  • You should be a homeowner of the state in which you’re using.

  • Your monetary circumstance would usually be specified as low earnings or really low earnings.

  • You should be a U.S. person or a certified noncitizen, such as a legal irreversible citizen.

States are lawfully needed to cover particular groups of individuals, consisting of low-income households, certified pregnant ladies and kids, adult kids with specials needs, older grownups and individuals getting Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. (See the complete list of groups with obligatory eligibility.)

Other protection classifications are optional, and states can pick whether they’ll cover those people.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act of 2010, states have the choice to expand Medicaid to cover practically all low-income Americans under age 65 (consisting of those without any small kids). Most states have actually broadened protection, however numerous have actually not yet done so. See this map of states that have (or haven’t) broadened protection.

What Medicaid covers

Under federal law, state Medicaid programs are needed to cover services consisting of inpatient and outpatient medical facility sees, doctor services, laboratories and X-rays, household preparation services and licensed pediatric and household nurse specialist services.

Optionally, state Medicaid programs can cover products like physical treatment, occupational treatment, oral care, podiatry, optometry and hospice, to name a few services. All states presently cover outpatient prescription drugs, although that’s not a needed advantage.

What Medicaid expenses

Medicaid is typically complimentary, however states might charge premiums and have cost-sharing requirements for individuals who register, consisting of copays, coinsurance and deductibles. There’s a limitation on out-of-pocket expenses, however people with greater earnings might deal with greater charges. Some groups of individuals are exempt from out-of-pocket expenses, such as kids under age 18 or individuals getting hospice care.

States have the choice to charge various copays for generic and brand-name drugs, and they likewise might charge greater copays for sees to a health center emergency situation department for nonemergency services.

Medicaid vs. Medicare

Medicaid and Medicare are both government-run healthcare programs, however they serve various populations:

  • Medicare is a medical insurance program that primarily serves individuals ages 65 and older, no matter their earnings level.

  • Medicaid offers medical insurance to low-income and susceptible individuals of any ages.

It’s possible for some individuals to get both Medicaid and Medicare.

How to obtain Medicaid

The procedure to obtain Medicaid will depend upon your state, however usually you can go through the Health Insurance Marketplace or your state Medicaid workplace.

  • Apply through the Health Insurance Marketplace: Visit to see if you get approved for Medicaid in your state. If you submit an application and you or somebody in your family gets approved for Medicaid, the state firm will contact us.

For more details about Medicaid, check out or call your state Medicaid firm.


A news media journalist always on the go, I've been published in major publications including VICE, The Atlantic, and TIME.

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