Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide 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.
Some states have expanded their Medicaid programs to cover all people below certain income levels.
Even if your state hasn't expanded Medicaid and you don’t qualify based on income alone, you should apply to see if you qualify.
Each state has coverage options that could work for you – particularly if you have children, are pregnant, or have a disability.
There’s no limited enrollment period for either Medicaid or CHIP. If you qualify, your coverage can begin immediately, any time of year.
You can apply for Medicaid and CHIP 2 ways:
Fill out an application through the Health Insurance Marketplace. If it looks like anyone in your household qualifies for Medicaid or CHIP, we’ll send your information to your state agency. They’ll contact you about enrollment. When you submit your Marketplace application, you’ll also find out if you qualify for an individual insurance plan with savings based on your income instead. Plans may be more affordable than you think.
You can also apply directly to your state Medicaid agency. Select your state below for contact information.
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) basics
Yes. If you have Medicaid or CHIP you don’t have to buy a Marketplace insurance plan. You don’t have to pay the fee that people without health coverage must pay. (Certain limited coverage Medicaid plans, like those that cover only family planning or outpatient hospital services, don’t qualify as coverage under the health care law.) Learn more about limited-coverage Medicaid programs.
Medicaid benefits are different in each state. But all states provide comprehensive coverage. See what services Medicaid offers in all states.
It depends on the state you live in.
If your state has expanded Medicaid: You can qualify based on income alone. See if you’ll qualify.
If your state has not expanded Medicaid: You may qualify based on your state’s existing rules. These vary from state to state and may take into account income, household size, family status (like pregnancy or caring for young children), disability, age, and other factors. Because each state and each family situation is different, there’s no way to find out if you qualify without filling out an application.
Generally yes, as long as you qualify to use the Marketplace. Most people whose incomes are just above the level to qualify for Medicaid can pay very low premiums and out-of-pocket costs for private health insurance through the Marketplace. Find out if you’ll qualify for savings.
A Marketplace insurance plan would cost more than Medicaid and usually wouldn’t offer more coverage or benefits. If you qualify for Medicaid, you aren’t eligible for savings on Marketplace insurance. You’d have to pay full price for a plan.
Some limited types of Medicaid coverage pay only for:
If you have limited Medicaid coverage, you can fill out an application through the Health Insurance Marketplace and find out if you qualify for comprehensive coverage through either Medicaid or a Marketplace insurance plan with savings based on your income.
Important: If you have limited Medicaid coverage, when you fill out a Marketplace application and are asked if you have coverage now, don’t check the box saying you have Medicaid. Check “None of the above” instead.
All states must offer former foster children uninterrupted Medicaid coverage until they turn 26, as long as at least one of the following is true:
These rules apply after January 1, 2014.
Note: If the foster child moves to a new state, the new state’s Medicaid agency may not provide coverage. Check with your state Medicaid agency to learn more.
You may be able to buy a private health plan through the Marketplace instead. You may qualify for savings based on your income through a premium tax credit and savings on out-of-pocket costs. Many people can find plans for $75 or less per month.
If your state Medicaid or CHIP agency said you’re not eligible
If your state hasn't expanded Medicaid coverage
Ready to obtain the right health insurance? Check your eligibility for free or low cost health insurance through the marketplace in 4 simple steps...