3 Tips for Applying for Medicaid

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans have found comprehensive health coverage. Although the A.C.A. has gone a long way in expanding coverage, many lower income individuals are unable to take advantage of it – specifically, those making under $12,000 a year. However, even if this describes your current financial situation, you’re still entitled to healthcare. Medicaid can ensure that you and any dependents receive the coverage you need without racking up enormous medical bills. If this is your first time applying for Medicaid coverage, take care to heed the following tips.

1. Find Out if You Qualify

Before applying for Medicaid in your state, you should find out whether or not you qualify. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to go about this. For starters, you can get this information from the Health Insurance Marketplace, a.k.a. HealthCare.gov. Alternatively, you can obtain this info from your state’s welfare website. If you lack internet access, place a call or pay a visit to your local welfare office.

2. Be Patient

Depending on the state in which you reside, you may have to wait several weeks to a full month before being approved for Medicaid. However, there are a couple of ways you can speed this up. Instead of sending your application and pertinent documentation via snail mail, fax them or submit them via email. If you don’t have regular internet access, you can find the tools you need at a local library. Furthermore, don’t abstain from seeking healthcare while awaiting approval. Since Medicaid is retroactive in most states, recipients are often able to apply it to past medical expenses. So if you’re feeling under-the-weather, need a checkup or an imaging test with an open MRI scanner, don’t hesitate to seek out the care you need.

3. Select a Suitable Medicaid HMO

Since many states require Medicaid recipients to select HMOs, this should be your first priority after receiving approval. To determine which HMO is right for you, request documentation from your local welfare office, place a call to your state’s federal assistance hotline or research the various options online.

Although certain individuals attach an unwarranted social stigma to those who receive Medicaid, this program provides healthcare coverage to millions of financially burdened and physically disabled Americans. If you qualify for Medicaid and are unable to afford regular insurance, there’s no reason you shouldn’t apply. In the interest of simplifying the application process, remember to put the pointers discussed above to good use.