Medicaid is a social health care program. Medicaid provide free or low-cost health coverage to millions of Americans, including some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health-related services for people with low income in the United States. Medicaid is jointly funded by the state and federal governments and managed by the states. Medicaid recipients must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, and may include low-income adults, their children and people with certain disabilities.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act significantly expanded both eligibility for and federal funding of Medicaid. Under the law as written, all U.S. citizens and legal residents with income up to 133% of the poverty line, including adults without dependent children, would qualify for coverage in any state that participated in the Medicaid program. Some states, including California, Oregon and Washington, have expanded their Medicaid programs to cover all people with household incomes below a certain level. Others haven’t.
Whether you qualify for Medicaid coverage depends partly on whether your state has expanded its program.
- In all states: You can qualify for Medicaid based on income, household size, disability, family status, and other factors. Eligibility rules differ between states.
- In states that have expanded Medicaid coverage: You can qualify based on your income alone. If your household income is below 133% of the federal poverty level, you qualify. (Because of the way this is calculated, it turns out to be 138% of the federal poverty level. A few states use a different income limit.)
For more information, contact your state’s Medicaid office.