If you are pregnant and make less than 30,000 a year, chances are that you are eligible to join the federally funded Medicaid program! Medicaid differs from state to state, but is generally designed to help low-income parents, children, and other individuals access proper medical care.
What is Medicaid?
Medicaid is a U.S. health insurance program for low-income individuals. Jointly funded by state and federal sources, each state manages its own voluntary branch of the Medicaid program. In many ways, it is similar to a single-payer health care system, but most participants are required to contribute a co-pay of 10% - 20% of their total medical costs. Medicaid also covers dental care, but a lack of dentists willing to participate in the program and a high level of inconvenience has caused this service to be under-utilized.
How Do I Know if I am Eligible for Medicaid?
Pregnant women are one of the populations specifically covered by Medicaid benefits. As long as you earn less than a certain amount annually (the exact amount varies from state to state), you and your child will most likely qualify for prenatal care via the Medicaid program. For women unable to afford maternity coverage health insurance, Medicaid is a valuable resource recommended by most hospitals and state agencies. To find the specifics of your state eligibility requirements, visit your local State Department of Health.
Is My Child Eligible for Medicaid Even if I am Not?
Children are eligible to receive Medicaid benefits even when their parents are not. During pregnancy, you and your child will be considered a single unit – prenatal care will apply to both of you. However, after your child is born, if you are no longer eligible for Medicaid but still unable to provide insurance coverage for your child, Medicaid may still cover his or her health insurance needs. Even when children are living with adults who are not their parents, the state does not consider the income of adults when determining a child's needs.
Will Medicaid Pay Me Directly?
No. Medicaid operates as any other health insurance program would – it covers most (but not all) medical procedures, and requires a 10% - 20% copay from participants, typically due when services are rendered. Medicaid itself pays health care providers directly, and will only reimburse participants for costs accrued up to three months prior to enrollment in the program (assuming that the participant was eligible for coverage during those three months).
What Prenatal Services Will Medicaid Provide?
As with a non-government health insurance program, Medicaid will cover most typical prenatal expenses including doctor's visits, prenatal vitamin prescriptions, ultrasound procedures, and hospitalization during birth. Medicaid will not cover costs associated with alternative birthing choices such as midwifery, home birth, or hiring a doula; participants interested in these options will have to pay out of pocket for anything not covered by the plan. Some states offer programs with additional maternity coverage; one participant in California's Medi-Cal system was told that she had better prenatal benefits than her doctor did!
If you are struggling to pay for pregnancy insurance or prenatal medical care, the Medicaid program is worth looking into – it could save both you and your baby from significant financial burden and stress!
Article on Medicaid
Medicaid is a federal benefits program which is administered state by state. It is medical insurance that is available only to certain low-income individuals and families who meet specific requirements. Medicaid monies are paid directly to your healthcare providers for the health services that you receive.
Because Medicaid is administered by the state, the guidelines and eligibility for acceptance into the program vary. Similarly, the way income is calculated also differs between states.
Pregnant women are listed as one of the eligibility groups. Income level is one of the primary requirements that determine if you qualify for Medicaid. If you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of pregnancy and financially challenged, you are encouraged to pursue Medicaid coverage.
If you qualify for Medicaid, this will be your most economical route in obtaining healthcare services.