Medicaid is an important program that helps Americans pay for health care costs. Unfortunately, the program is being threatened by congressional Republicans. Specifically, they are beginning to impose painful work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries. Moreover, the Trump Administration is expected to propose a budget for FY 2018 that would drastically cut the funding for Medicaid. These efforts will seriously hurt millions of Americans who rely on this program.

Income Limits for Medicaid Coverage

When applying for Medicaid coverage, you need to know the income limits. The income limit depends on your income, assets, and resources. These assets can include your wages, Social Security benefits, or even alimony payments. Some assets are not counted, however, such as IRAs and 401Ks. In addition, a few assets are exempt from the income limit, such as your primary residence, vehicles, and burial funds of up to $1,500.

The monthly income requirements for Medicaid coverage can be as low as $934 for a single applicant and as high as $1,367 for a pair. But you may be wondering how to qualify for MediCal? You are still eligible for coverage if you meet the requirements, even if your resources may exceed these restrictions. You must typically earn less than 138 percent of the national poverty threshold or 185% of the federal poverty level.

Medicaid coverage eligibility limits are also determined by state law. Some states have stricter requirements than others. For example, those with a disability may qualify for a lower income limit than non-disabled adults. In addition, specific categories of individuals are automatically eligible for Medicaid. For example, pregnant women, children, and persons with disabilities are generally exempt from income limits.

In addition, Medicaid does not count the first $20 of income. If you have assets above these limits, you have two options: pay for nursing home care out of pocket or exhaust your purchases until you qualify for coverage.

Financial Protection from Large Medical Bills

The Biden-Harris Administration has issued an interim final rule that addresses surprise and balances billing. Surprise billing is when you get a bill from a doctor or hospital outside your health plan’s network, either for emergency or regular care. Balance billing is when a provider charges you for a portion you didn’t pay. These practices are illegal under Medicare and Medicaid. The new rule will also extend these protections to Americans with employer-sponsored health plans.

The ACA expansion has helped reduce medical debt for many Americans. According to research, Medicaid coverage is correlated to financial security. For example, a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that Medicaid expansion reduced the number of families with unpaid medical bills and the amount of non-medical debt sent to third-party collection agencies. The reduction was between six and ten percent, a significant change.

Expanding Medicaid Under the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act gives states various options for expanding Medicaid. Medicaid expansion is an integral part of the law that aims to reduce uncompensated care costs for the poor. Approximately $80 billion was spent on uncompensated care in 2016, with one-third of that cost coming from state budgets. The expansion will help lower the cost of health care for poor and middle-class Americans and will also help reduce their financial risk. States were initially hesitant to expand Medicaid, but the momentum has shifted, and additional states are considering their options.

Medicaid is a government program that provides health insurance coverage to low-income individuals and their families. Initially, the Affordable Care Act required states to offer Medicaid to those with specific income requirements, including children and adults without dependent children. However, the Act also required states to provide health care coverage to adults with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level, which is $27,000 for a family of three.

The expansion would reduce the number of uninsured individuals by 1.9 million in 2023, and an additional 2.5 million would receive marketplace subsidies. The development would dramatically affect the number of uninsured individuals, with non-Hispanic whites seeing the most significant increase in coverage and the most considerable decrease in uninsured people. In non-expansion states, non-Hispanic blacks would see the most significant reduction in uninsurance, while the remaining groups would experience reductions of eight to twenty percent.