If you qualify for the Medicaid program, you may also be eligible for an Obama Phone. Let’s briefly review how the program works, who qualifies for it, and how to enroll.
Medicaid, which began in 1965, is a government program designed to provide health care services to low income families and the elderly. Each state administers its own Medicaid program, but the federal government requires all states to cover certain mandatory health services.
Many states voluntarily provide additional health care services beyond those that are federally required. If you qualify for Medicaid, or any other government program described on this site, you qualify for the Lifeline Assistance Obama Phone program.
What Medicaid Covers
Although Medicaid coverage varies greatly by state, the federal government requires that the following list of services be covered by all states.
- Inpatient hospital services
- Outpatient hospital services
- Nursing Facility Services
- Home health services
- Physician services
- Laboratory and X-ray services
- Family planning services
- Nurse Midwife services
- Certified Pediatric and Family Nurse Practitioner services
- Freestanding Birth Center services
- Transportation to medical care
- Tobacco cessation counseling for pregnant women
Do you qualify for Medicaid?
In general, the Medicaid program provides free or low-cost health care to low-income individuals, families and children, pregnant women, senior citizens (over age 65) and those with disabilities. Some states provide coverage to all individuals under a certain income level.
The qualifications for Medicaid coverage are based on household size, income and other factors, like age and disability. Qualifying for Medicaid coverage requires that families meet an income that is no higher than 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The current maximum income level for a family of four stands at $32,550. This requirement is only in effect for states that chose to expand their Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. These states only use the household income and the number of family members in a household to make a determination on qualification.
If you live in a state that did not expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, you may need to meet additional qualification standards as defined by your state. In addition, individuals who do not have dependent children in these states do not qualify to enroll in Medicaid. Contact the Medicaid office in your state to determine if you are eligible for additional healthcare benefits under Medicaid.
All states are required to offer former foster children Medicaid coverage until they turn 26 years old, as long as they were in the foster care system and receiving Medicaid benefits on their 18th birthday. Children of low- and middle-income families may also be eligible for coverage under the Medicaid program even if their parents are not eligible to receive benefits. Many states voluntarily cover children who are not eligible under the federal Medicaid guidelines.
How to Enroll in Medicaid
You must submit an application each year to enroll in Medicaid. There are two ways to submit that enrollment application. One is by applying directly with your state’s Medicaid agency. The other method is by filling out a marketplace healthcare application. Visit the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website to find the location of your state office. To enroll in Medicaid via the marketplace, visit HeathCare.gov.
Applications for Medicaid typically request documentation to prove an individual’s identify and income. Some of the items you will need to supply include a birth certificate, Social Security number, driver’s license, proof of residency, pay stubs or other proof of income, names of financial institutions and bank account numbers, real estate deeds and unpaid doctor or health care bills.
You can apply for Medicaid coverage at any time of the year. Unlike the Marketplace healthcare plans and private health insurance plans, there is no restrictive open enrollment period. Most Medicaid applications are processed within 45 to 90 days of submission. Applications for disabled individuals typically take longer than standard applications. Eligibility for Medicaid is retroactive for the three months prior to submitting the application as long as the individual would have been eligible during that time period.