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Can You Get Auto Insurance Through Medicaid?



Medicaid and car insurance are not normally words you see written in the same sentence. But it raises an interesting question, can you get car insurance coverage (even dollar-a-day insurance) with Medicaid?

Being one of the largest sources of insurance for low-income families the US Medicaid has a lot of rules and regulations. There is also a lot of false information floating around about it.

In this article, we'll separate fact from fiction and explore the above questions in clear terms. We'll…

What Is Medicaid?
Does Medicaid Cover Auto Accidents?
What Are Some Other Options For Low-Cost Insurance?

Let's get started….

What Is Medicaid?

Most people will have heard of Medicaid. But not everyone understands it. So what is it exactly?

“Medicaid is a program created by the federal government, but administered by the state, to provide payment for medical services for low-income citizens. People qualify for Medicaid by meeting federal income and asset standards and by fitting into a specified eligibility. [1]

This program often gets talked about together with Medicare. These are two separate things. Medicare has a mandate to “provide health coverage if you are 65 or older or have a severe disability, no matter your income [2]” -- It's best not to confuse the two.

Does Medicaid Cover Auto Accidents?

As with so many questions of insurance regulation or coverage, the answer to the above question is that it depends on which state you live in.

For example, New Jersey has a plan to help low-income drivers is called the Special Automobile Insurance Policy (SAIP). Another way it's commonly referred to is “dollar-a-day insurance”. The annual premium for this plan is usually $365 dollars per year, hence it costs one dollar per day.

SAIP is also unique in that to be accepted into the program you must be enrolled in or eligible for Medicaid. New Jersey's plan specifically gives Medicaid recipients coverage for car accidents.

If you have SAIP you can expect the following coverage.

  • A SAIP policy covers treatment immediately following an accident and all treatment for acute injuries up to $250,000.
  • The SAIP policy also provides a $10,000 death benefit.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, this is kind of an exception to rule.

In most states, there is likely to be little or no coverage for medical bills that are the result of an auto accident. To be considered “safe” it is much better to have an additional policy on top of your government coverage. The reality is that this is not possible or affordable for everyone.

If you've been in an accident and Medicaid is the only health insurance that you possess (and cannot make a claim against the other party's insurance) you can always try to claim against it and see what happens. You often won't know the outcome until you try. You can also contact Medicaid directly and try to figure it out based on your specifics.

Visit the Medicaid website here or give them a call (toll-free 877-267-2323) for more information. Note, this may require a bit of patience.

What Are Some Other Options For Low-Cost Insurance?

As you can see Medicaid doesn't really offer that much in terms of coverage for car accidents. But everyone needs insurance, so what to do?

There are other government programs (besides Medicaid) that offer discounted insurance for people on a limited budget. To cite one example, California has the California Low-Cost Automobile Insurance Program which helps low-income families get coverage.

Another tactic is to see if discounts are available for veterans or people with disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (if either of these applies to you).

Also, it may sound ineffectual but there are some very decent discounts out there. You can find these by shopping around, negotiating, and advocating for yourself -- more often than not these tactics will lower your costs.

Summary

Medicaid is a wide-ranging program that offers enormous amounts of assistance to a wide range of people. Auto insurance, as it turns out, is simply not one of the things typically offered. In specific states (New Jersey, California, Hawaii), either Medicaid qualifies you for dollar-a-day coverage, or there are other low-income policy options available.

The truth is insurance can be a tough thing for those with limited resources. Just keep the basics in mind so you can make the best choice possible for your circumstances.

  • Medicaid is a federal government program that provides medical services for lower income people.
  • Medicaid typically does not offer auto insurance, although New Jersey is one notable exception -- checking with Medicaid directly is your best course of action.
  • Beyond Medicaid there are other low cost insurance offerings and ways to get discounts -- with a bit of work, finding an affordable policy is possible.


Sources:

1 - Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
2 - Medicare Interactive


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