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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

How to Apply for Medicaid

The Affordable Act gives states the option to expand their Medicaid program. People with incomes just over $16,000 can qualify in states that have expanded Medicaid. If you think you may be eligible for Medicaid, it's a good idea to apply. While the rules are different from state to state, the basic process for signing up is similar.

1. Check the rules for the state where you live. To do this:

  • Go online to Medicaid.gov. Click on "choose a state," pick your state, and click on "view state." You'll see information on your state's program.
  • Or, call your state's medical assistance office. To get your local number, call 800-633-4227.

2. Fill out the application.

In all states, you can apply for Medicaid coverage two ways: directly through your state Medicaid agency or by filling out a Marketplace application. You can apply for Medicaid and CHIP any time of year, not just during Marketplace Open Enrollment.

You can download and print  the form from your state's Medicaid web site or you may apply online. You can also get it in the mail by calling 800-633-4227.

3. Gather up documentation. Your state will need to see some personal and financial information to make sure you are eligible. The specifics vary from state to state. But you might need to submit:

  • A tax bill for your home
  • A copy of your birth certificate
  • A pay stub to prove how much you earn
  • Bank statements
  • Your Social Security number
  • Other personal information

Double check the list to make sure you have everything you need.

If you have a disability, it can take longer to process your application. You may have to wait up to 90 days.

You may also have to wait longer if you don’t get all the paperwork in on time. Try to provide everything promptly. If you don’t meet the deadlines or don’t provide what is needed,  Medicaid may reject your application. Then you'll have to apply all over again.

After the Decision: Next Steps

If you are denied, Medicaid will send a letter explaining why. If you disagree, the letter will also tell you how to appeal the decision.

If you are accepted, you'll get a letter telling you when your coverage starts. You'll also get a Medicaid card. To get the Medicaid benefit, always carry the card with you and use it when paying for health care, such as for medications or doctor's appointments.

Keep in mind that even after you are accepted, Medicaid will review your case regularly. You may have to submit more financial information. If your circumstances change -- for instance, if your income goes up -- you may lose your Medicaid eligibility. You may then be able to buy a private insurance plan through your state’s marketplace.

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