Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Four Ways to Qualify For Medicaid

I routinely get calls about families with children with autism and other disabilities needing more therapy or to see specialists that their insurance doesn’t cover.  It could be speech therapy, occupational therapy, ABA, etc. 

At some point the conversation works its way around to if their child had Medicaid it might help with some of the things the child needs that the family cannot afford above and beyond insurance.  Many families are surprised to learn there is more than one way to qualify for Medicaid.  You have four ways you might be able to qualify for Medicaid if you have a child with a disability that I know about.

The first way is to apply for Medicaid.  This sounds strange but many times parents are told by friends and professionals that they will not qualify when they do.  Medicaid takes strange things into account when you apply.  For instance they take into consideration all those medical bill you are paying out of pocket right now.  My experience with parents and Medicaid workers is the Medicaid worker will try to ask you about things you might not of thought about or might not know about as best they can if you explain your situation. 

The second way is what in our state is called the Family Opportunity Act.  It might be called something different in other states.  Louisiana has a program at the Medicaid office for families to be able to ‘buy in’ to Medicaid if they have a child with a disability.  There are other qualifications too.  If the person who answers the phone does not know about this specific program ask for a supervisor as this is a small program.  From what I understand from other parents the fee is very nominal especially compared to what they are or could be paying out of pocket. 

The third way to get Medicaid is if your child can get SSI.  In our state and some other states part of getting SSI is also getting the Medicaid card.  Parents are told from the beginning that income is a consideration and it is, but they should apply anyway.  The child also has to have a severe enough disability. Think about it like this.  If a child qualifies for even $5.00 of SSI they get a Medicaid card.  The cash assistance may not be encouraging to you but the Medicaid may be a big help.

The final way I know of to get a Medicaid card is though the state’s Community and Family Support Services.  These services are at your area Human Service Authority if you are in Louisiana.  If you are in another state ask at your state’s Office or Department of MR/DD.   If your child’s disability is severe enough your child could qualify for what is commonly called a Waiver.  One of the services you get as part of the Waiver is a Medicaid card.  The important part here is that if your child qualifies for the Waiver it is regardless of your income. 

I am sure there are other ways to qualify for a Medicaid card.  These are just the ones I know about for a child with a disability.  Some of these include adults with disabilities.  You have to ask though.  Do you know any other ways to qualify for Medicaid? 

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