What Is Medicaid Health Insurance?


Quick Answer

Medicaid is a United States health insurance program for low-income individuals and families that is government-funded and administered at the individual state level, as explained by WebMD. The state government follows guidelines set by the federal government regarding mandatory health care benefits, but each state decides which optional benefits will be included and what the exact eligibility requirements are. Medicaid is distinct from the similar-sounding program called Medicare; the latter was designed for individuals who are over the age of 65 or who have specific disabilities.

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What Is Medicaid Health Insurance?
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Full Answer

Some of the mandatory Medicaid healthcare benefits that individual state programs must provide, as determined by the federal government guidelines, are inpatient and outpatient hospital services, physician services, lab and X-ray work, family planning and home health care. Optional Medicaid healthcare benefits include dental services, eyeglasses, prescription drugs, podiatry services, physical therapy and hospice care, as noted on the Medicaid website. Because each state government can determine its own Medicaid eligibility requirements and optional benefits, the programs can have significant differences between states.

The federal government funds, or reimburses, each individual state government in amounts that range between 50 to 83 percent of the state's Medicaid programs costs, as reported by Bankrate. Each state's per capita income level plays a role in the amount of Medicaid funding received from the federal government.

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