The Medicaid program provides free or low-cost health benefits to some low-income individuals, families, pregnant women, the disabled and the elderly. Eligibility is determined by federal guidelines, but costs and coverage can vary from state to state.
Medicaid benefits are provided to those classified as low-income and the medically needy. The income level required to receive Medicaid benefits is set at the state level and dependent on the applicant’s eligibility group. Medicaid benefits are distributed at the state level, but regulated at the federal level. To receive Medicaid benefits, applicants must be a resident of the state in which they reside and possess a legitimate Social Security number.
Medicaid benefits are only available to U.S. Nationals, citizens or permanent residents with low incomes. Income guidelines are set forth by the states, however as of 2014, the national minimum eligibility is 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Additionally, applicants must either be 65 years of age or older, pregnant, permanently disabled, blind, or the caretaker or parent of a child in need of health insurance assistance.
Federal law requires states to cover specific population groups regarded as “mandatory eligibility groups.” States are given flexibility to establish eligibility requirements within federal standards for other population groups regarded as “optional eligibility groups.”