Medicaid helps people at low incomes get health care at a low cost or free. It's a partnership between the federal and state governments. The federal government sets the rules for the basic Medicaid program and determines who qualifies and what benefits are offered. State governments can choose to cover more people and provide more benefits.
The Affordable Care Act adds more people and more benefits to the basic Medicaid program, but only in states that choose to expand Medicaid.
If you already use Medicaid to help pay for doctor's visits, or if you think you can get it, here's what the Affordable Care Act means for you.
If You Get Medicaid Now, You May Still Qualify
People with low incomes who've been helped by Medicaid in the past should still qualify in 2014. This includes:
- People with disabilities
- Pregnant women
- Parents who are working at low pay or are not working (in some states)
- Some older adults
A New Group of Adults Qualifies in Some States
If you fall within the ages of 19 to 64, don't have children, and don't make much money in a year, Medicaid may now be a possibility for you. In the past, adults with no children could not receive Medicaid, except in a few states.
If the state where you live is expanding Medicaid you may be eligible if your annual income is no more than about $16,000 for one person and about $33,000 for a family of four.
If the state where you live is NOT expanding Medicaid, you can't get Medicaid under the new Affordable Care Act rules. But you may be able to get a type of financial aid, called a subsidy, to help pay for health insurance by shopping at your state's Marketplace web site. There are two types of subsidies:
- A tax credit is money that helps to lower your monthly premiums. You can use the money from the credit in different ways.
- A cost-savings subsidy is a type of financial aid that lets you pay less for your health care. It lowers your deductible, which is the amount you have to pay before insurance helps pay. It also lowers how much you pay when you see a doctor or buy prescription medicine.
Find out the rules in your state and whether you qualify at HealthCare.gov.