If you are curious about health insurance and thinking about signing up for Medicaid, you might have some questions about how it all works. Here we will discuss some common questions and connect you to information to help you learn more!
What does health insurance do?
Health insurance helps people pay for medical care like doctor visits, medicine, and medical treatments. People who earn over a certain amount of money pay for their health insurance by paying a monthly bill (called a premium) to a private insurance plan, and in return, the health insurance company shares some of the cost.
What is Medicaid?
Not everyone has enough money to cover their medical bills. Many people have medical problems or family situations that make paying for medical costs difficult or too expensive. To provide Americans with the health care we all deserve, the United States has the Medicaid program, which provides free or low-cost health coverage to millions of Americans, including some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Who can participate in Medicaid?
All over the United States, Medicaid is available to people who are over 65 years old, are blind, disabled, or pregnant, and to low-income adults. The exact income limits to define what low-income adults can use Medicaid vary from state to state.
In Illinois, the income limits for participation in Medicaid depend on your family size and if you have children. According to benefits.gov, to qualify for Medicaid in Illinois you need to meet the following criteria 1:
- For a single person, the maximum income is $17,237 per year.
- For a household of 2, the maximum income is $23,336 per year.
- For a household of 3, the maximum income is $29,436 per year.
- For a household of 4, the maximum income is $35,535 per year.
To learn more about the requirements to qualify for Medicaid in Illinois visit HealthCare.gov.
What medical services can I get through Medicaid?
With Medicaid, you will have a primary care provider, who is the main doctor who takes care of you for check-ups. You will have access to preventive care like screenings or testing for conditions so you can avoid getting serious illnesses in the future. Medicaid also pays for hospital stays if you need surgery, mental health services, medications, or medical supplies like asthma inhalers.
You will also have a care coordinator, a representative from your health plan who will help you keep track of your health care. This person will also learn about your home environment, family life, and other needs to make sure that great health is within reach.
How will Medicaid improve my health?
Having a doctor to see when you are sick is the main benefit of signing up for Medicaid – plus easier access to medicines you may need, counseling services for mental health needs, and health care in an emergency. What you may not realize is that going to the doctor for regular visits before you get sick can prevent you from having a future emergency, injury, or serious illness! Checking in with a doctor about your health will help you keep track of your health before it becomes a problem.
How do I sign up for Medicaid?
In Illinois, Medicaid is a part of the State of Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). You can enroll for Medicaid online at EnrollHFS.illinois.gov, or on the phone at (877) 912-8880. Once you are signed up for Medicaid, it is very important to stay covered! Each year, HFS must check to make sure you can still get Medicaid benefits through a process called Redetermination. When you receive any letters about Redetermination, make sure you follow the instructions, because otherwise you can lose your insurance and you will have to apply again.
For more information about Medicaid and eligibility requirements visit:
- Illinois.gov/HFS (for detailed information on Medicaid services available)
- ABE.illinois.gov/abe/access/ (to sign up for Medicaid in Illinois)
- Benefits.gov/benefit/1628 (for income limits on Medicaid eligibility)
- EnrollHFS.illinois.gov (to get information about and to pick a managed care health plan)