Below are the most common public health programs. If you qualify, we do not see a good reason to not take advantage of these programs. There is no reason for anyone to overpay for healthcare, and these programs help ease the pain on your wallet. There is a list with the links to these programs at the end.
Medicaid provides healthcare for low-income children and families, and people with disabilities. Coverage varies by state. Covered services usually include doctor visits, hospital care, vaccinations, prescription drugs, vision, hearing, long-term care, and preventive care for children. There is a special process called a “Medicaid Spend-down” where you use your medical expenses to become eligible for Medicaid and have Medicaid help pick up the bill. In short, you start with too much income to qualify for Medicaid. Then you spend the excess income on medical expenses to become eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid then picks up the rest of the medical expenses. The coverage can apply retroactively, meaning it can cover past medical expenses. There are strict rules for becoming eligible. See more information here.
Medicare is a government health insurance plan for people 65 or older, people under the age of 65 with certain disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease. Medicare helps to pay for care in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hospice care, and some home health care. Coverage can also include doctors’ services and prescription drugs. Similarly, there is a Medicare Savings Program to help with premiums, deductibles, coinsurance and copayments.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) can help you temporarily keep health insurance you had through your employer after you have left your job.
The Health Exchanges are simply online platforms for you to shop for health plans and potentially receive financial assistance. Plans cover essential health benefits, pre-existing conditions, and preventive care. Some people who apply through the Marketplace qualify for premium tax credits and savings on out-of-pocket costs based on household size and income.
These benefits are reserved for individuals and families with limited income, disabilities or at age 65+.
- Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) – Exchange Coverage by State
- Gov– Learn about what benefits you qualify for all in one website
- COBRA– Learn about eligibility, costs, and benefits of the COBRA program, which helps people who lose health coverage from an employer.
- Medicaid– Learn about the Medicaid program and find enrollment options for your state.
- Medicare – Learn about the Medicare program; enroll online; and find a Medicare-enrolled doctor or healthcare facility.