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Medicaid: How To Apply For

Where To Apply For Medicaid

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Medicaid is applied for in the state in which you live. In some states, you can apply for Medicaid as part of the process of applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

When you are ready to apply for Medicaid, find out which entity processes Medicaid applications. In some states a state agency processes Medicaid applications. In others, each county is responsible for processing the Medicaid applications of its residents. To find the correct place in your state, see: offsite link or call Medicare at 800.633.4227. Ask for the Medicaid office in (name of your state.)

 Where To Apply For Medicaid If You're Not Confined In An Institution.

Contact the state agency that handles Medicaid in your state and ask for the following information:

  • The location of the office that you should use. NOTE: Many states require you to use the office in the area in which you reside. (This is unlike Social Security which allows you to pick which office to use).
  • Do they accept appointments for an application or must you simply walk-in and wait your turn? 
  • What are the office's hours?
  • What documents should you bring to the appointment?
  • Whether you can apply online - and if so, how. (Individual stories indicate you have a better chance of getting Medicaid if you go to the office instead of applying online.)
  • Are there public clinics at which you can apply? If so, ask whether applications taken at the clinic take longer and/or have more problems than applications filed at a Medicaid office. There are some parts of the country where this seems to be the case. 

NOTE: If Medicaid in your state pays health insurance premiums, contact the health insurance companies that offer such plans and ask if the company will apply for you or at least help you through the application process.

Where To Apply For Medicaid If You Are Confined In An Institution.

Ask your facility administrator about seeing a Medicaid eligibility worker. Medicaid workers will usually make visits to hospitals and nursing homes to enroll people at their bedside.

Many nursing homes will apply for Medicaid for you for free because it's in their interest to get you approved.

If You Qualify For SSI

If you qualify for SSI, apply for it first - then Medicaid. See the Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") and Medicaid section of Medicaid for a list of which states will automatically give you Medicaid if you are approved for SSI. In states that require you to apply directly for Medicaid, having been approved for SSI will make the process easier. This is especially so in those states which apply SSI criteria to their Medicaid.

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