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What Is Medicaid?

If you’re a United States citizen or a legal resident of the U.S., you are probably very interested in finding out more information about government-sponsored health care programs. Every state in the U.S. does carry a program called Medicaid, which is intended to offer medical and healthcare assistance to lower-income families and individuals with very limited resources. If you’re wondering, “What is Medicaid, and how do I know if I am eligible to receive this type of assistance?” you’re in the right place.

What Is Medicaid?

The Medicaid program is a United States healthcare program for both individuals and families who have lower incomes and limited resources. People of all ages have Medicaid assistance, and it is currently the biggest source of funding for all medical and other health-related services in the United States. Medicaid programs in all states receive their funding from both the Federal government and the state, and each state has the ability to manage its own program. As a result, the eligibility requirements vary from state to state.

History of Medicaid

The Medicaid program was started through an addition to the Social Security Act called the Social Security Amendments of 1965. Early candidates for Medicaid included individuals who were:

  • Blind
  • Disabled
  • Pregnant
  • Elderly

Today, most states offer Medicaid healthcare coverage to lower income children, pregnant women, mothers with young children at home, and people who have been designated as being disabled with no prior work history. These individuals receive Supplemental Security Income, or SSI.

What services are covered by Medicaid?

When you receive Medicaid, most states cover services such as, dental services, pain relief, office visits with a participating practitioner and emergency services. Depending on the type of Medicaid coverage you have, you may be required to get prior authorization for some medications or medical procedures. The state you reside in will be able to inform you about their requirements.

What is the future of Medicaid?

In 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed. This law expands Medicaid eligibility requirements for each state. However, the Supreme Court ruled that states be permitted to expand their requirements, or keep them the same. As a result, some states will be expanding their requirements, starting in 2014.