How Does Medicaid Work?

Medicaid works by a case worker first determining the individual’s eligibility to receive Medicaid. If the person is eligible, he receives an identification number and a Medicaid coupon containing removable labels pre-printed with information. When doctors who are enrolled with Medicaid provide services, they place a label on the claim form. The form is reviewed to ensure the claim meets certain guidelines before the doctor is reimbursed.

To be eligible for Medicaid, an individual must have low income and assets that fall under a certain amount. As of 2014, married couples living together can have up to $3,000 in cash or savings plus other exempt assets, such as a house and household items. Individuals can have up to $2,000 in cash, savings or other assets, and other exempt assets. Medicaid allows applicants to give away or transfer assets or money in order to meet the required income guidelines.

Every state’s Medicaid program offers basic medical care in which neither Medicaid nor the doctor can charge the individual with copayments. Some types of medical care that Medicaid covers in all states include inpatient and outpatient hospital care, laboratory and x-ray screening services, short-term home health care, ambulance service, and prescription drugs that aren’t covered by Medicare.