A mesothelioma diagnosis is difficult enough without having to worry about how you will pay for treatment. Unfortunately, this is often the case for the thousands of people diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. Some of the newly diagnosed will be underinsured, meaning their health insurance will cover only a fraction of the costs for treatment. Others will be totally uninsured. What many of these uninsured may not know is a Federal Health Insurance Program (HIP) exists that could help cover treatment costs.
Covering more than 62 million Americans and counting, Medicaid is the nation’s single largest insurer. The program, which includes coverage for millions of the nation’s most vulnerable individuals and families, serves as a key source of health care financing and is the dominant source of the nation’s long-term care financing. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you do not have health insurance, Medicaid cannot refuse to cover you or charge you more because of a pre-existing condition. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this provision applies to private health insurance providers as well.
So here’s what Medicaid does: in general, the program provides free or low-cost medical care based on income and family size. In some states, the program covers all low-income adults below a certain income level. The program pays for doctor visits, hospital expenses, surgery, nursing home care, and home health care. The program also covers long-term care costs, both in a nursing home and at-home care. Certain prescription drugs may be covered as well.
At this point, you might be wondering if you qualify for Medicaid. Each state has its own income limits to qualify for full, free coverage. However, even if you earn “too much” to qualify, you might still be eligible for a low-cost health plan with extra savings or a health plan with lower monthly premiums. Some individuals, called “dual eligibles,” may also qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare.
Like all health insurance programs, limits and other restrictions for Medicaid vary greatly by state.
"Key Facts about the Uninsured Population." KFF.org. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 29 Sept. 2016. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.
"Medicaid: A Primer – Key Information on the Nation’s Health Coverage Program for Low-Income People." KFF.org. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 01 May 2013. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.