If you got turned down for Medicaid, or thought you would be turned down so didn’t bother applying, don’t give up hope just yet.
There are many different Medicaid programs in every state. If you get turned down for one, you can try a different one. See the list below for twenty different ways people can apply for Medicaid. That’s right…. twenty!
Medicaid is a health insurance program run by your state. If the word “Medicaid” doesn’t look familiar to you, it may be because your state uses a different name.
For example: In California, it is called “Medi-cal.” In Pennsylvania, it is called “Medical Assistance.” In Massachusetts, it is called “MassHealth.” And in some places it is totally random. Like some Wisconsin Medicaid programs are called “BadgerCare”
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEDICAID AND MEDICARE?
Good question. The answer is here: What’s the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid?
WHAT DOES MEDICAID OFFER
- Medical care (doctors, hospitals, medical tests, etc)
- Vision (some states)
- Dental (some states)
- Transport to doctors (most areas)
- Pays all deductibles and most co-pays
- If you have Medicare, some Medicaid programs pay the premiums
- Medicaid waiver programs can also provide home aides, home modifications, assistive technology, and other services
DON’T GIVE UP ON MEDICAID
Many people (wrongly) think that they can’t get Medicaid. And many people (wrongly) are told that they can’t get Medicaid. And many people (wrongly) are told this by people who work at Medicaid! Why Is Someone Telling Me I Can’t Get Medicaid? Twenty different ways to apply:
“I DON’T BELIEVE I CAN GET MEDICAID”
Maybe it will help to see a sample of how many different Medicaid programs one state can have. Here’s a few examples of different Medicaid programs and income limits from a sample state. Income Limits for a Single Person:
- Medicaid Spend Down: $590/month
- Aged Blind Disabled Medicaid: $780/month
- Medicare Savings Program/QMB: $1,060/month
- Medicaid Premium Assistance Program: $1,300/month
- Medicaid for Families: $2,000/month (1 parent + 1 child)
- Medicaid Waiver/Long Term Care: $2,300/month
- Medicaid Buy In: $4,600/month
Option #1 – MAGI Medicaid
Learn more About MAGI Medicaid
- Anyone who is NOT on Medicare and NOT receiving Social Security disability
- Only available in a state that expanded Medicaid
- Available in 31 states
- Income limits vary by state.
- There are no asset limits. Money in bank and things you own don’t count.
Option #2 – Aged, Blind, Disabled Medicaid
Learn more About Aged Blind Disabled Medicaid
- Anyone who is disabled or
- Anyone who is elderly
- Tip: You do NOT have to be approved for Social Security.
- Available in all states.
- Income limit: Income limits are generally $800 – $1,200 per month, depending on the state. Higher if married.
- Asset Limits: There are also asset and resource limits.
Option #3 – Medicaid Buy In Programs
Learn more about Medicaid Buy In Programs
- Working people with disabilities.
- Many people with disabilities are not able to work a regular job, but still qualify for this program if they are doing any kind of self-employment at home (babysitting, pet sitting, tutoring, elder companion, helping neighbors, making art, etc.)
- Some states require ten hours per week. Other states have no minimum
- Available in 45 states.
- Income limits are often high (like up to $80,000 year!).
- Many states do not count spousal income.
- Some states do not count disability income.
- May or may not have resource and asset limits.
Option #4 – Medicaid Waivers
Medicaid waivers provide health insurance, plus salary for home aides, plus other services. Learn more about Applying for Medicaid Waivers.
- People who cannot care for themselves and need assistance.
- Designed to help people stay out of nursing homes or institutions.
- Available in all states.
- Financial criteria varies by state. Also has a resource limit.
- Ignore if you see figures for married couples. Most states do not count spouse’s income if your spouse is not also needing aides.
- Ignore if you see charts with medicaid income limits. This is a different form of medicaid with different rules.
- Monthly limits are typically $800-$2,200, depending on the state.
- If you are over the limits: How to Apply When You Have Too Much Money
- Stories from readers: How I Got Approved for a Medicaid Waiver
Option #5 – Medicaid Spend Down, Medically Needy or Share-of-Cost Programs
- May be useful in an emergency that is sudden and expensive (i.e. car accident)
- In many states, this program is not good for ongoing care and will leave you impoverished.
- If you are told you have a spend down or share of cost for your ongoing Medicaid, do not accept this.
- Do your own research. Find a different Medicaid program you can apply for.
- Also see: How to Avoid Share of Cost (for California, but applies to some other states as well)
Option #6 – Apply for SSI
SSDI comes with Medicare. SSI comes with Medicaid. If you are approved for SSI, in most cases, you will also qualify for Medicaid.
- You have to be poor to qualify: How Poor Do I Have to Be?
- To apply, call Social Security and request an SSI Interview.
- If you have too much savings or resources: SSI Resource Limit
- If you have too much income: SSI Income Regs
- Also check out: Ten Common Reasons SSI Might be Denied or Stopped
Option #7 – Adult Disabled Children
This is a special benefit for people who first became disabled before the age of 22 (doesn’t matter what age you are now)
- Some people lose SSI when they switch to disabled adult child benefits
- There is a special rule that can help you keep your Medicaid in this situation. Learn more: Disabled Adult Child Benefits
Option #8 – Medicaid for Parents and Pregnancy
- “I’m a pregnant now” – Most states have medicaid programs for pregnant women. If you were turned down for Medicaid in the past, but now you are pregnant…. go try again!
- “I’m a parent now” – Most states have medicaid programs for parents. If you were turned down for Medicaid in the past, but now you have kids…. go try again!
Option #9 Medicaid for People on Medicare
Learn more about How to Escape Medicare Fees
- Medicaid offers several programs that pay for Medicare co-pays and/or premiums. May be called QMB or SLMB or something else in your state.
- There are several other programs that can also help with Medicare expenses.
Option #10 – Medicaid for Kids
- “I have kids and I’m poor” – All states have programs that offer medicaid to low income children. Go apply.
- “I have kids, but I’m not poor” – If you make too much money, try applying for just your kids. They may qualify without you. Some states have much higher income limits for kids. For example, in some states, a single mom with three kids can make over $75,000 per year and the children are eligible for Medicaid.
#Option 11 – Medicaid for Disabled Children
If your child has disabilities or chronic health conditions, check out Medicaid Waivers for children. These programs provide health insurance plus many other services and programs to help your child. Also see these Facebook Groups for Medicaid Waivers
- Medicaid waivers exist for children with developmental disabilities in every state.
- Some states also have programs for physically disabilities, medically fragile, and other types of health conditions.
- Most programs are for children with severe conditions.
- In most states they will not count ANY of the parents income or assets.
- Most states will only count money that belongs directly to the child
Option #12 Medicaid Waivers for Mental Illness
If you have been diagnosed with Serious Mental Illness, you may be eligible for medicaid through a mental health medicaid waiver program. You will get other cool services too!
- These programs are now available in Connecticut, California, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, Indiana, and several other states. You can also look up the names of different waiver programs in your state.
- It’s a good idea to ask about or research exactly what kind of mental health history treatment you need to qualify. There may be very specific criteria and it will be a waste of time to apply without looking into the criteria first.
Option #13 Moving
“I was in Idaho. I moved forty five minutes away to Oregon. I moved just over the boarder, my house is five miles from the border, and I got Medicaid. It was completely worth it.” – Heather
- Medicaid rules are wildly different by state. Some people find it worth it to move to a state where they will be able to get the services they need.
- Some of our readers report moving to California, particularly families with disabled children. Minnesota, Colorado and New York also have good programs for certain situations.
- For people without disabilities, any state that expanded medicaid can be better than one that didn’t.
Option #14 – Medicaid Planning
- Some people qualify for Medicaid by consulting with a Medicaid planner or hiring a Medicaid estate planning lawyer. Commonly used by people who have inheritance, lawsuit settlements, higher income levels or other assets.
- Here is an Overview of medicaid planners
Option #15 – Open a Special Needs Trust
If you have too much resources (bank accounts, savings, cars, valuables, etc).
- This is a special type of trust for people with disabilities. If your money or resources are in certain types of trusts, they will not count for Medicaid.
- This can cost a few thousand dollars. However, many people find it worth it, as it can protect assets and help you get care for the rest of your life. You may wish to consult with a medicaid planner or hire a special needs planning lawyer.
Option #16 – Open a Pooled Income Trust
If you have too much income (salary, disability check, retirement income, etc)
- People with too much income sometimes open something called a “pooled trust” or “miller trust.” Some of your income will go into the pooled trust each month, and then the trust can pay your rent or other expenses. This income will not count for medicaid.
- Learn more about pooled income trusts in This Fact Sheet (this link is from new york, but gives very helpful information that may apply in other states.) Some states do not allow pooled trusts.
Option #17 – Ignore Other People You Live With
When you apply for Medicaid it asks you to list everyone in your “household.”
This does not mean what you think it means. In most cases, it does not mean housemates, brothers, sisters, friends, adult children, or parents of adult children. Check what “household” actually means for the Medicaid program you are applying for.
Option #18 – Don’t Be a Dependent
Some forms of Medicaid consider a “household” to be anyone declared as a dependent. If someone has declared you as a dependent, and this is disqualifying you, make sure to look into this.
Tip: The rules usually state that they consider who is expected to be declared as a dependent on next year’s taxes. So if you were a dependent last year, it may not be too late to apply on your own.
Option #19-24 Medicaid for Special Populations
🌷 Applying for disability: If you are currently applying for disability, please check out: How to Get Medicaid While Applying for Disability
🌷If you are not eligible for disability – If someone has told you that you cannot apply for disability, look here for ways to Qualify for Disability After You Were Told You Don’t Qualify for Disability
🌷 Special Populations – Some states have even more Medicaid programs for special populations (foster care, widows, refugees, etc.) As an example, check out this long list of Medicaid programs in California.
🌷 Developmental Disabilities – Most states have special medicaid waiver programs for people with developmental disabilities and for people with Autism. The waiting lists can be many years long, but the programs and services are excellent.
🌷 Married – If your spouse’s income is disqualifying you: “My spouse makes too much money”
🌷 Relatives Caring for Children – Some states will allow you into a Medicaid program for parents if you are a relative who cares for a child.
🌷 Specific Conditions – Some states run special Medicaid Waiver programs for people with certain conditions. For example: HIV/AIDS, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Autism, Cystic Fibrosis, Developmental Disabilities, and other conditions. The programs may provide many different helpful programs and services. You can also look up the names of different waiver programs.
“SOMETHING WENT WRONG”
If you applied for one of the programs above and got turned down, don’t give up hope. There may be a solution. “I applied for Medicaid and something went wrong” . Read this page if one of these things happened:
- “Someone I live with makes too much money.”
- “My parents have too much money”
- “I have a too much income.”
- “I was approved but the Spend Down is really expensive”
- “I have too much savings or I might get an inheritance”
- “Child support is making my child not eligible”
- “I think I should qualify, but I got turned down”
- “Medicaid said I’m not disabled or not medically eligible”
Pansy was repeatedly denied Medicaid. She did not give up, and Medicaid covered her $40,000 hospital bill: How Pansy Got Medicaid By Being Smart, Scrappy & Persistent
If all else fails, you can give up on Medicaid and instead try some other ways to find affordable medical care: How to Get to the Doctor When You Can’t Get to the Doctor
Updated August 2018. Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working.