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Medicaid

Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that helps with medical costs for some people with limited income and resources. Medicaid also offers benefits not normally covered by Medicare, like nursing home care and personal care services.

How to apply for Medicaid

Each state has different rules about eligibility and applying for Medicaid. Call your state Medicaid program to see if you qualify and learn how to apply.

Medicaid spend down

Even if your income exceeds Medicaid income levels in your state, you may be eligible under Medicaid spend down rules. Under the "spend down" process, some states allow you to become eligible for Medicaid as "medically needy," even if you have too much income to qualify. This process allows you to "spend down," or subtract, your medical expenses from your income to become eligible for Medicaid.

To be eligible as "medically needy," your measurable resources also have to be under the resource amount allowed in your state. Call your state Medicaid program to see if you qualify and learn how to apply.

Dual eligibility

Some people who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid are called “dual eligibles.” If you have Medicare and full Medicaid coverage, most of your health care costs are likely covered.

You can get your Medicare coverage through Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C). If you have Medicare and full Medicaid, you'll get your Part D prescription drugs through Medicare, and you'll automatically qualify for Extra Help paying for your Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D). Medicaid may still cover some drugs and other care that Medicare doesn’t cover.