The two biggest government healthcare programs are Medicare and Medicaid. Both programs require you to meet certain requirements to enroll in a plan. The requirements for the programs are discussed below.
Medicare health plans are for seniors 65 years of age or older. You may qualify for Medicare if you are younger than 65 years old and have a disability or a certain medical condition, such as End Stage Renal Disease or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
To be eligible based on a medical condition, you may have to wait a period of 24 months before you can sign up.
Medicaid coverage, on the other hand, is available to low-income individuals and families. All children in households with income less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level qualify for Medicaid coverage.
However, specific income requirements for adults vary by state, as it is a joint federal and state program.
You may be eligible for a combined Medicare Medicaid insurance plan if you meet requirements for both programs. For instance, if you are a low-income senior, your Medicaid plan may cover services and fees your Medicare plan does not.
You can apply for Medicare around your 65th birthday, or when you qualify based on a medical condition. However, you can apply for Medicaid at any time.
Some children from low-income households that have incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid may qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Eligibility guidelines for CHIP vary by state.