Understanding Medicaid

Medicaid is a government program providing low-income Americans with assistance for their medical costs.

The health care program was created by the federal government, and is administered by state governments.


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While the federal government provides much of the funding for Medicaid programs, the specific details of how the program works are decided by each state. Some of these details include:

  • Eligibility requirements
  • Which health services are covered
  • The amount paid to health providers for those services

Because the eligibility requirements are different for each state, there’s no easy way to determine if you qualify for Medicaid coverage. To find out, you should contact your local social service providers or your state’s department of health and human services. A list of health and human service departments for each state is located here.

What if You Aren’t Eligible for Medicaid?

If you aren’t eligible for Medicaid, try exploring your individual health insurance options. You may be able to find an affordable health plan that keeps you covered.

In many states, you can buy a catastrophic health plan. These plans give you coverage in case of a serious accident or illness for low monthly premiums.

You can also look at discount medical programs. These programs generally don’t cost much to join, and can help you save money on medical expenses. Discount programs are available for general medical care, prescription drugs, dental, and vision care. But remember, discount medical programs aren’t health insurance, and won’t offer the same kind protection as a health plan (such as limiting your out-of-pocket expenses).

Want to explore your options? Start with our Plan Finder. Choose your preferred health plan costs, and we’ll show you plans that match.

It also pays to get advice from professional health insurance agents. You can get connected with multiple agents licensed in your area using our easy online form.