Medicaid is a federal and state program that provides health coverage for certain people with limited income and assets. Each state runs different Medicaid-funded programs for different groups of people, including:

  • Older adults
  • People with disabilities
  • Children
  • Pregnant people
  • Parents and/or caretakers of children

All states also have Medicaid programs for people with limited incomes and assets who need nursing home care, long-term care services, and home health care services. Some states also have programs for individual adults who don’t fit any of these categories.

Each state uses financial eligibility guidelines to determine whether you are eligible for Medicaid coverage. Generally, your income and assets must be below a certain amount to qualify, but this amount varies from state to state and from program to program. You are eligible for Medicaid if you fall into an eligible group and meet that group’s financial eligibility requirements.

If you are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid (dually eligible), you can enroll in both. Medicaid can cover services that Medicare does not, like long-term care. It can also pick up Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs (deductibles, coinsurances, copayments).

Some states offer a Medicaid spend-down program or medically needy program for individuals with incomes over their state’s eligibility requirements. A spend-down program allows you to deduct your medical expenses from your income so that you can qualify for Medicaid. Contact your local Medicaid office to learn if a spend-down is available in your state.