Medicaid is a state and federal program that pays for medical costs for people with low income. Medicaid covers low income adults with or without children. Medicaid also covers children up to age 19 under the AllKids program. It also covers people who are 65 and older, blind, disabled, or pregnant and cannot afford to pay their medical bills.
If you are eligible for Medicaid you will receive a medical card once per year. You can use this card to pay for doctor visits, hospital care, prescription drugs, and other medical care, without cost to you.
Medicaid is run by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). However, the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) is the agency that takes applications and decides whether you are eligible. Applications for Medicaid and other programs run by DHS like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Food Stamps (SNAP) can be filed online. You do not have to go to a DHS office to apply for benefits.
Note: Doctors do not have to participate in the Medicaid program. Most people in Illinois on Medicaid are now in managed care organizations depending upon where you live. This means that you will most likely need to choose a network of doctors and hospitals to see with your Medicaid card. If you are not in a managed care organization, you will choose a Primary Care Provider who will help you coordinate your care and refer you to specialists if you need to see one. You will receive an enrollment packet after you get on Medicaid that will explain the process to enroll in managed care and your choice of plans and doctors in your area. Learn more about managed care on the Medicaid website.
Updated: January 2017