How does Medicaid Help People With Low Income

An unexpected emergency, even regular medical care can cost thousands of dollars, leaving many people without the finances to get the care they deserve. How does Medicaid help people pay medical bills? A state and federally funded health insurance program, Medicaid is designed to help low-income adults, children, pregnant women and seniors get the medical care they need. To be eligible for benefits, recipients must meet the required income level and family size. If you are interested in learning more about Medicaid assistance, here is some information that can help.


Currently, Medicaid provides health coverage to over 70 million seniors, children, pregnant women and those with disabilities.Income based eligibility is determined using the federal poverty level, which is updated annually. Since 2014, when the Affordable Care Act passed, Medicaid eligibility has expanded. However, in addition to placing income requirements on recipients, states may charge enrollees a premium, along with copayments, deductibles and coinsurance for receiving benefits. Children and pregnant women are excluded from many of these fees, but all applicants must meet state and federal requirements concerning residency, immigration status and documentation of U.S. citizenship.

What Does Medicaid Cover? 

While Medicaid benefits vary from state to state, each state must meet certain mandatory federal minimum requirements. In general, the program pays for basic inpatient and outpatient hospital services, nursing and home health care, laboratory and x-ray services, pediatric care and necessary medical equipment.

Many states have expanded on the mandatory federal minimums to include benefits for physical, occupational and speech therapy, optometry, podiatry, dental and vision care, chiropractic services, hospice care and more. Often, benefits are provided through Medicaid that are not covered by Original Medicare, such as personal care and homemaker services. In some cases, Medicaid covers out-of-pocket expenses associated with Medicare, like premiums, deductibles and coinsurance.

Medicaid and Medicare– Dual Enrollment  

Dual eligibility in both Medicaid and Medicare is common, and millions of seniors receive benefits from both programs. As a Medicare recipient with low income, Medicaid may be able to help pay for out-of-pocket expenses associated with Original Medicare. In addition, Medicaid often covers treatment and services not typically covered by Medicare, such as prescription drugs, eyeglasses and hearing aids. If you qualify for Medicaid benefits, you may be eligible to receive retroactive coverage that can help pay for medical debts you incurred up to three months prior to applying.