Medi-caid used to be commonly confused for Welfare. It is distinctly different for a lot of reasons. Here are a few:
What we call welfare, is money that is paid to you if you have no other source of income. Welfare benefits, themselves, do not cover any medical bills. Just like Medicare and Social Security are different, so are welfare and Medi-caid.
While Medicare eligibility is based on the recipient having had worked and paid into the program, this is not a requirement for Medi-caid. This program serves the low-income, and no-income communities, but these days it encompasses a whole lot more.
We have, in this nation, what is referred to as the "working poor". These are people who are making minimum wage, and/or are working part time. If they are offered insurance benefits at work (rare if ever) then it is too expensive. Since this class of workers is barely making ends meet as it is, expensive insurance is not an option for them.
Restricted services are available. Now, have your opinions either way about abortion, but the fact is that it is out there and very common. If you do not have any other insurance and find yourself wanting to terminate a pregnancy (for whatever personal reasons you have) you can apply and will likely be covered so long as you meet the income restrictions and are not covered under another health plan anywhere.
Major health complications. Let's say you have a private insurance through your employer, and someone in your family comes down with cancer. Your insurance costs are astronomical and your health insurance has run out. You may be eligible. With proof of your costs, and meeting the program eligibility requirements, you might be covered too.
Immigrants. Rarely covered under any other plan, are eligible. Again, have your opinions about whether this is right or wrong. It is a fact.
Limited income senior citizens are another large group covered. There is an entire generation that was raised to believe that Social Security and Medicare would take care of them for life. Decades later with healthcare costs exploding, we are finding that this is not the case.
So, the lesson here is, that the rules are not as black and white as we originally thought. If you find yourself without insurance, or enough insurance, check this option out. If you are working in the medical billing field, use some of this information to direct your patients to the option that can give them the most help. You can find more information at:
Until next time:
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Author, Medical Billing, Coding, and Reimbursement
A medical billing professional for over 30 years now, I have seen a lot of changes in this field, and there are a lot more on the horizon. Follow me as we see what they mean and for who.