Can I Keep Medicaid if I Get a Job?
Medicaid can help provide health insurance to those with little or no income. If you find yourself without employment for any reason, Medicaid can help offset the financial impact of a medical emergency. But can you keep Medicaid if you get a job? Does Medicaid expire? Let’s find out what your options are regarding Medicaid.
You can keep Medicaid if you get a new job. You can even keep Medicaid if you get rehired to a job you previously held. While many employers offer a form of health insurance with an offer of employment, this does not impact any Medicaid benefits you are already receiving. Simply having a job won’t disqualify you from Medicaid eligibility.
Once you can sign up for health insurance at your new job, there may even be an option to decline insurance if you already have Medicaid. Be aware of this as this can help to avoid payment confusion in the future.
What is Medicaid?
Medicaid is a form of health insurance made available to those with low or no income. It can help pay for a variety of medical costs, including preventative procedures, telecommunication, dental care, hospitalization, and more.
Run and funded by the federal government but distributed at the state level, Medicaid can look different depending on which state you live in. There are several benefits to Medicaid that exist on a nationwide level, available to everyone who qualify for Medicaid. Each state is also given leeway to cover other benefits if they see fit.
If you apply for Medicaid, it will stay in place for a calendar year. The coverage you receive cannot be interrupted by alternative insurance. You will need to reapply every year for Medicaid to maintain coverage.
What if I Work for Myself?
If you become self-employed, your existing Medicaid coverage won’t change. If your income changes, it may impact your ability to reapply for Medicaid coverage once your current term is up.
How Does Medicaid Work?
Medicaid operates like normal insurance. You will have two cards to show when claiming insurance. One card is a public benefit card that represents Medicaid. The second card is your general insurance card. When you sign up for insurance under Medicaid, you can choose the insurance company you want to receive health insurance from.
When presenting insurance for medical purposes, you will need both your Medicaid card and your insurance card present along with whatever qualifies for identification. It works just like any other form of health insurance.
Once you apply and qualify for Medicaid, coverage will begin either on the day of the application or on the first day of the month of the application. When necessary, Medicaid can also cover up to three months of prior medical expenses so long as the applicant would have been eligible for Medicaid within those months.
How Can I Apply for Medicaid?
You can apply for Medicaid through your state Medicaid agency. Each state has its own method of applying for Medicaid. You can also complete and application through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Do I Qualify for Medicaid?
To qualify for Medicaid, there are certain financial and non-financial criteria that must be met. In general, low-income families, qualified children, qualified pregnant women, and people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) all can receive Medicaid.
Your financial qualification for Medicaid depends on your Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI). This metric can also qualify you for other forms of assistance, like the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This one number can help you qualify for these two forms of assistance as well as tax breaks come tax time.
There are certain exemptions from qualifying financially. You can qualify for Medicaid by way of disability or blindness. People over the age of 65 that are disabled, or blind, can have their Medicare premiums paid through Medicaid.
Medicaid or Medicare
While they sound similar, Medicaid and Medicare are two different programs who fundamentally serve two different groups of people.
Medicaid covers low-income families, the disabled, blind individuals, and others who qualify financially. Medicare covers people who are age 65 and older.
Medicaid Denial Process
If for some reason you are denied coverage through Medicaid, you can appeal the decision. You can also appeal an act you believe to have been wrongfully made on the part of the state, or you can appeal the perceived inaction of the state regarding the Medicaid process.
What Would Disqualify Me from Medicaid?
If you had Medicaid benefits and your financial circumstances changed, you may not be able to qualify for continued Medicaid coverage. If you experience an increase in income, your Medicaid eligibility may be in jeopardy. To properly assess eligibility for Medicaid, qualifying income levels are assessed on a yearly basis.
To this end, having a job that increases the amount of income you have can prevent you from qualifying for Medicaid when you reapply. Your existing benefits will run until their expiration date.
Another way you might be disqualified from continued Medicaid coverage is if there is a change to your family. If a child in the family no longer considered a dependent, it may affect your Medicaid eligibility.
What if My Income is Too High for Medicaid?
If your income is too high for Medicaid but you still require insurance for your children, you might be able to qualify for Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This program can help children of qualifying families under the age of 19 receive health insurance.
What is Covered by Medicaid/CHIP?
Various services are provided to children under both Medicaid and CHIP.
- Visits to your doctor
- Routine check-ups
- Vision care
- Dental care
- Prescription drugs
- Inpatient care
- Outpatient care
- Lab services
- X-ray services
- Emergency medical services
- Mental health services
How Do I Find a Health Provider that Accepts Medicaid/CHIP?
If you already have a primary care provider for yourself and/or your child, ask whether they accept Medicaid, CHIP, or whichever health plan you currently have. If you need to find a new health care provider, many CHIP and Medicaid programs have websites that can help you locate the proper provider.
You can also contact your state Medicaid or CHIP agency over the phone for assistance. Once you apply for Medicaid or CHIP and receive the necessary documents and identification, the phone number to reach these agencies will be on the enrollment information.
In many instances, finding a dentist that accepts Medicaid/CHIP will require a separate search. Most states will offer an online portal that will help with finding the right dentist.
Is Medicaid/CHIP Free?
This depends on your level of income. While there may be payments involved to handle premiums, copayments, and/or enrollment fees, most applicants may qualify for completely free health coverage, either for themselves or for their children.
The Medically Needy
In some instances, certain people may have severe medical needs without being able to qualify for Medicaid. States may establish what is known as a medically needy program. People who fall under this category can “spend down” to bring their income level to eligible levels. The process of spending down happens by using personal finances for medical care.
The spend down amount is the difference between your income level and the established state medically needy income level. Once the amount you spend on medical care exceeds the spend down amount, you will then be eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid will be able to pay for any overage incurred after you became eligible.
Medicaid can help handle medical expenses in a pinch. Although one of the main qualifications for Medicaid is income, getting a new job will not instantly take Medicaid benefits away from you or your family. If you’re looking to reapply for Medicaid after your existing benefits have expired, your increased level of income may make you ineligible.
If you find yourself ineligible for Medicaid (and your job does not offer health insurance) there are other options that you may qualify for. If you have a family and your children need insurance, they may qualify for CHIP. Be sure to contact your local Medicaid or CHIP center to determine your eligibility. If your child is eligible for CHIP, then they will be covered for a wide range of medical procedures and health services.
Finally, if you feel there is need to appeal a decision regarding Medicaid or CHIP, there is a appeals process in place to help.
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Medicaid exists to help those with low-income or no income pay for medical expenses. It can come through in a pinch, especially when ongoing medical bills are piling up. But what happens if you get employed during this time? Can you keep Medicaid if you get a job?