Medicaid and CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program, provide health insurance to more than 43 million low-income children throughout the United States. This program offers a variety of benefits, including periodic screenings, diagnosis and treatment, and additional benefits may be offered, depending on the state of residence.
Those who wish to apply for Medicaid benefits may do so at the official Medicaid.gov website. This benefit provides free and low-cost care to those who fall within specific income brackets, depending on family size. Federal guidelines require states to cover those within certain mandatory eligibility groups that include low-income families, those receiving SSI payments, qualified pregnant women with children and those who require transitional medical assistance. As of 2014, the Affordable Care Act set the minimum eligibility level for Medicaid at 133 percent of the federal poverty level for those under 65 years of age.
Some of the mandatory benefits Medicaid recipients get include inpatient and outpatient hospital services, home health services, laboratory and X-ray services, family planning services, certified pediatric and family nurse practitioner services, and transportation for medical care. Optional benefits for Medicaid recipients may include dental services, prosthetics, prescription drugs, physical therapy, optometry services such as exams and eyeglasses, hospice care and private-duty nursing services.