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Do Felons Qualify for Medicaid?

Medicaid is an essential to many people in the United States.  With rising medical costs, many people are unable to afford healthcare at all and the only way for them to survive is to get assistance.  The question is, do felons qualify for Medicaid?  In this post we’ll answer that question an help you understand what you need to know about Medicaid.

The Major Points Covered in this Article:

  • The Medicaid Program – Open to Felons
  • Checking Medicaid Eligibility
  • Applying for Medicaid

The Medicaid Program – Open to Felons

You can qualify for Medicaid if you have been released from prison and have served your time. To understand how the program works, you need to understand a little bit about the Medicaid plan itself. Medicaid and CHIP, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, both provide low-cost or free health coverage to Americans in the U.S.  – people who include low-income individuals, children, pregnant women, people with disabilities and the elderly. Depending on the state where you live, some programs under Medicaid cover anyone who is defined as being below a certain income tier.

Medicaid Prerequisites

Even if you reside in a state that hasn’t expanded its Medicaid program and you cannot qualify based on income alone, you should still apply. Each state provides coverage alternatives that may work for your circumstances, especially if you currently have a disability, are pregnant or are a parent and are taking care of younger children.

Checking Medicaid Eligibility

The Medicaid or CHIP programs do not have limited enrollment periods. Therefore, if you are qualified to apply for either health program, coverage can start instantly, at any time during the year.

Are you Medicaid Eligible?

To apply for Medicaid, you will need to see if you are eligible. You can refer to the HealthCare.gov link online for further details about qualification. Qualification for Medicaid eligibility is based on a state’s existing rules and takes into account the income of the applicant, household size, age, disability, family status (such as  the care of younger children) and similar criteria. Because each state and family circumstances vary, you won’t be able to find out if you qualify without first filling out an application.

Health Care Coverage Rules for the Incarcerated

According to HealthCare.gov online, special rules for health care coverage apply for incarcerated people or individuals serving time in a prison facility. The marketplace definition of “incarcerated” meansserving a jail or prison term. The definition does not extend to residing at home or in a facility under the supervision of law enforcement or the criminal justice system.

Therefore, the marketplace does not include parole, home confinement or probation when it defines incarceration. While you are incarcerated, you cannot use the marketplace to purchase private health care insurance. However, once you are released you will regain this right.

Applying for Medicaid

Signing Up for Private Health Insurance in Prison or Jail – When It is Allowed

Once you are released from prison then, you can apply either for private health coverage. Doing so can quaify you for lower monthly premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. Again, the coverage you obtain will depend on your income and the size of your household. If you have not been convicted of a crime but are incarcerated and are waiting on a report on a disposition of charges, you can sign up to buy private health insurance in the interim.

Signing Up for Medicaid While You Are in Jail or Prison

However, whether you are convicted or not and are incarcerated, you can sign up for your state’s Medicaid plan. You just can’t receive medical care, if you have been convicted, using the coverage while you are still confined. Nevertheless, it is still a good idea to enroll in Medicaid during your incarceration. Doing so will allow you to obtain medical care more quickly once you have been released.

How to Sign Up and qualify for Medicaid

You have three options from which to choose when signing up for Medicaid.

  1. You can go online and apply at your state’s marketplace website or apply at the HealthCare.gov website.
  2. You can fill out a paper application and mail it in to the Medicaid office.
  3. You can visit the Medicaid office in your state.

Basic Information You Will Need to Fill Out a Medicaid Application

To fill out an application for Medicaid, you will need to make sure you gather the following basic information:

  • Information about your household -including the addresses for each member in your household who needs coverage;
  • Social security numbers of each household member in the plan;
  • Employer and income details for each member of your household in the form of pay stubs or Wage and Tax statements (W-2 forms);
  • Estimate of household income for the coming year; and
  • Policy number of any current health insurance plan that covers members in your household.

Make Sure the Application is Completely Filled Out

To make sure you fill out the information correctly, talk to a representative with the Medicaid office where you live.  Make sure you have all the paperwork complete before you submit the documentation. It is better to take the time needed to make sure everything is filled out completely than to have to correct an application and delay coverage.

Have you applied for Medicaid?  What was the most confusing part about it?  Let us know in the comments below.

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