Do Felons Qualify for Medicaid?

Getting back on your feet after being released from jail or prison can be a very overwhelming time. It can be an even worse time if you don’t have medical care coverage.

Are felons eligible to be covered by Medicaid? Felons are eligible to receive coverage from any type of health insurance including Medicaid, while they are not incarcerated.

As well, children of anyone enrolled in Medicaid are eligible for CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). So, felons can qualify to get Medicaid, but what is Medicaid and are there other options for felons?

Medicaid and Other Options for Felons

Medicaid is one of the best insurance options for felons due to its low cost and popularity within the healthcare field.

Medicaid is government-funded but administered by the state you live in. Medicaid can be very cheap and or free health care coverage for people in certain situations. There are no enrollment periods for Medicaid, so you can apply at any time. You will have to renew Medicaid annually.

Medicare is government-funded, regulated and administered. Medicare is only for citizens who are either over the age of 65, disabled or in the final stage of renal failure. Medicare covers mostly everything for those who have it.

Private Insurance can be bought from non-federally funded health insurance companies. Most of the time, you can receive these through employment benefits as well. Private insurances can be very costly depending on their specific plans.

While in jail or prison you are not covered by any government-funded or private insurance while serving your sentence. While incarcerated, the Department of Corrections is responsible for all healthcare and costs.

Also, you will not receive a fine for not having health insurance while serving time. You are welcome to apply for Medicaid during your sentence. If you receive approval, you will have coverage starting on your release date.

Learning About Medicaid

In this section we will provide insights into what Medicaid covers, debunk some common misconceptions, and highlight the qualifications needed to be accepted for Medicaid.

What Medicaid Does Not Always Cover

Medicaid part A and B do not cover;

  • Long term care
  • Outpatient prescription drugs
  • Deductibles and copays
  • Most dental care
  • Eye exams
  • Medical care overseas
  • Dentures
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Acupuncture
  • Hearing aids
  • Foot care.

Although there are other parts such as C and D that you can purchase to cover some of these costs.

Medicaid Misconceptions

Many people have a lot of stereotypical views about Medicaid.

  • Medicaid is free. Medicaid is not always completely free; many members are still required to pay copayments. How much Medicaid or its other expenses cost are determined by which state you live in.
  • You can’t have Medicaid and Medicare at the same time. You can have both Medicaid and Medicare if you qualify for both.
  • Anyone can get Medicaid. Not everyone qualifies for Medicaid. The elimination process is very complex and strict. While some situations vary, most people will NOT receive Medicaid if their income is not below the poverty level.

Medicaid Qualifications

Medicaid eligibility is dependent on your yearly household income. In most cases, your household income must be equivalent to or under the federal poverty level. Check here to see if your income is under the federal poverty level for your states.

As well, being pregnant, elderly, disabled or having dependents can increase your chances of getting an approval.

Information to Have Before Applying

You will need the documents to verify your identity and personal information. Typically proof is required for –

  • Age (Ex. Any form of identification that includes your DOB)
  • Income sources (paystubs, tax returns)
  • Citizenship (birth certificate, social security card)
  • Disability, if any
  • Assets (bank statements)
  • Address (current mail in your name, mortgage)
  • Other insurance, if any (policy number)

How to Apply for Medicaid

Anyone can apply for Medicaid at one the following

  • Printing a paper application and mailing it into their local Medicaid office.

Steps If Your Medicaid Application Is Denied

First, you’ll receive a letter explaining why your application was not accepted and how to appeal their decision.

Based on why your application was denied, you can choose to appeal their decision. For example, if you received a denial because of a mistake or information on your application, it would be in your best interest to appeal. It is very common for people applying to Medicaid to receive a denial their first time.

If your application is denied because of your income, you could apply again if or when your income changes. Also remember to always educate yourself on the federal poverty amount, because one year you may be above and the next you could be under it.

Tips for Applying for Medicaid

  • Fill out your application as correctly and accurately as you possibly can. Re-check your information multiple This will prevent you from getting a denial for these mistakes.
  • Research and understand your state’s Medicaid eligibility requirements. You could save yourself a lot of time by knowing if you qualify or not.
  • If your assets or income are more than your states set requirements, look into ways of how to reduce your estate.
  • Consult an attorney, Medicaid representative or a financial advisor.
  • If you have a serious mental illness diagnosis, you may be able to apply for a mental health Medicaid waiver program based on your state. Don’t forget to read your state’s qualifications for this, they can be very specific with the qualifications.
  • Don’t count people in your household unless they are your dependents. (No roommates, adult children, anyone who pays their way). This can help tremendously with your application.

Final Thoughts

Felons are eligible for any kind of insurance including Medicaid as long as they are not in prison. It can be very beneficial for a felon to apply for Medicaid while incarcerated to ensure they have coverage on their release date.

As well, it is a known fact that having access to healthcare is a very important part of getting back on your feet after prison. Start by checking out your state Medicaid guidelines today!


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