Medicaid is an assistance program that pays certain medical expenses for low-income people. The federal government sets guidelines but each state runs the program somewhat differently. The program covers basic health services. For children under 18 years old, there are special services such as dental care, screening exams to detect diseases or problems, and immunization programs. In Georgia, Medicaid can provide help getting to medical appointments.
Anyone who receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) automatically receives Medicaid. SSI and TANF are assistance payments to low-income people. Medicaid cards are issued along with the checks. Some people are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.
Persons who receive Medicaid generally do not pay for medical services, except in some cases when a co-pay is requested (these payments are usually no more than a few dollars). Medicaid pays the medical provider directly for services rendered. However, not all doctors are part of the program. Many do not accept patients on Medicaid. Medicaid clients must always ask if the doctor accepts Medicaid and if Medicaid covers the needed services or items. Otherwise, the client will be billed. Call the customer service number on the Medicaid card to find providers who accept Medicaid.
Even if you are not eligible for SSI or TANF, you may still be able to receive Medicaid. There are several Medicaid programs for which you could possibly qualify. If your income is too high to qualify for SSI or TANF, but your medical expenses are high, you may still be able to receive Medicaid (through a program called “Medically Needy”). Another Medicaid program called "Right from the Start Medicaid" has higher income limits and is for pregnant women and young children.
If you are interested in applying for Medicaid, contact your local Department of Family and Children Services. Your HTC social worker can also assist you.