What Is Medicaid?

It's not Medicare*. If you can't afford private medical care for yourself, your family, or your children, you might qualify for this medical assistance program. Each state is different.

You'll need more information before you know if this program is for you, and what the rules are for qualifying. Then you'll need to know how to apply for Medicaid, and what coverage it might provide for you and your family. This page is a good place to start to learn.

We are The Medicaid Project, a publisher of directories for resources about medicaid in each state. Our editors recommend the articles and brochures on this page to anyone that wants to know, what is Medicaid?

*Medicare is a federal program that provides health care assistance to people 65 years of age and older. It has little or no connection to the state medical assistance programs for adults, families and children known as Medicaid.
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Medicaid medical assistance program basics. Review these for help on understanding how Medicaid provides medical assistance.

  • web page:
    Overview Medicaid Program - General Information

    source:Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
    languages: English; (date updated: 6/2011)
    This page from the federal Medicare/medicaid website gives general information on what Medicaid is, and how the eligibility process works. There are links to eligibility and various data sources.
    • more about Medicaid general information from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:
      Medicaid At-a-Glance 2005
      file size: 12 pg.   languages: English; (published date: March 31, 2005)
      A good source for Medicaid basic information, along with content which explains the Federal Poverty level, and the level of coverage in each state. Note the date, 2005; be aware that the rules have changed somewhat since then, but this is still a good overview of Medicaid document.

  • brochure:
    What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

    file size: 4 pg.; languages: English; (published update: 08/26/2008 )
    A brief explanation about the difference between these two programs which sound alike.
    • more about Medicaid basic information from Medicare.gov:
      web page:
      How can Medicaid help people with low incomes?
      languages: English; (published update: 01/29/2010 )
      A short article with advice about Medicaid qualifications and what basic medical needs are covered.

  • web page:
    Medicaid 101

    source:Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    languages: English; (published update: 7/8/2008 )
    Emphasis is on Medicaid for pregnant women, infants and teenagers, people who are aged, blind or disabled, and some other groups.
  • web page:
    What is Medicaid?

    languages: English; (no published date)
    This federal website is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The page gives a concise definition of what is Medicaid, along with help about what the program pays for, and advice on how to apply.

Medicaid as a national system. These articles and brochures discuss Medicaid's role, funding, and administration.


Medicaid in your state. The program is different in each state.

 The Medicaid Project


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