Qualifying for Medicaid – now and under Obamacare

I had to quit my job to take care of my elderly mother.  Frankly, I thought by the time that my 18 months of COBRA coverage ended, I would be back at work.  But my mother is still alive, though failing.   I don’t want to wish that my mother would die, so that I can get health insurance again.  At this point, I have no health insurance and no COBRA.  How can I qualify for Medicaid?

Caring For Mom

Dear Caring For Mom,

You qualify for Medicaid based upon your income and assets (i.e. savings accounts, home, etc.) The specifics depend on what state you live in. Unless you are disabled or have children under age 18 in your home, you are not likely to qualify for Medicaid.  Go to healthcare.gov and answer the questions. It will give you information about all of your options, including links to your state’s Medicaid office.  It will also give you information about health care providers who use a sliding scale for their fees, or offer free or discounted services to people who have no insurance.

If your state decides to do the Medicaid expansion that comes under Obamacare, then you could get Medicaid just by being low-income.  That starts in 2014.  Visit healthcare.gov again in late 2013 to see what your state is doing.

If you are 55 or older, you might find it useful to visit the National Council on Aging’s Benefits Check Up.  Similar to healthcare.gov, it asks you a series a questions and then shows you a list of resources for health care costs, prescriptions, food, and social services.  This might help relieve other financial pressures on you.

Good luck!

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.