Frequently Asked Questions

About Medicaid

Medicaid began in Alabama on January 1, 1970. In the past 46 years, millions of Alabamians have received medical services through Medicaid.

Below are some questions people often ask about Medicaid.  Click on the questions to see the answers:

Medicare is a federal program to provide medical insurance primarily for people who age 65 or older. Medicaid is a federal and state program that provides medical assistance to low income people and individuals with disabilities.
Over 1 million Alabama residents qualifed for Medicaid at least one month of the year in FY 2016. This means about 1 of every 4 Alabamians had some form of Medicaid coverage at some point during the year.
Medicaid primarily covers low income children, disabled adults, nursing home residents and low income people who also have Medicare. At some point during FY 2016, Alabama Medicaid covered approximately 26 percent of all Alabama citizens, including 55 percent of all Alabama children.
No. Alabama Medicaid is a very limited program. The requirements vary from program to program. In many cases, Medicaid must consider resources (assets) as well as income. Some women are covered only if they are pregnant. Most Medicaid eligibles, however, are children.
No. Each state Medicaid program decides what people and services will be covered. This usually depends on how much the state can afford. The federal government provides matching funds as long as the federal minimum requirements are met.
Medicaid eligibility is determined by several different agencies. The federal Social Security Administration certifies aged, blind or disabled people who have very low income and qualify for cash assistance through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The Alabama Department of Human Resources certifies foster children and children who receive state or federal adoption assistance. Medicaid certifies the remaining groups.
Any physician or dentist who is licensed in the State of Alabama may become a Medicaid provider. All providers must apply to provide services to Medicaid recipients. Some provider types have additional requirements that must be met in order to enroll as a Medicaid provider. All providers must not be disqualified or sanctioned due to fraud or abuse of the program.
In FY 2016, Alabama Medicaid paid more than $5.6 billion to hospitals, physicians, laboratories, nursing homes, pharmacies and other health care service providers on behalf of thousands of Medicaid-eligible Alabama citizens.  All of these funds substantially support equipment, personnel and services that benefit all patients, regardless of payment source. Many providers, especially those in rural areas, depend on Medicaid dollars to cover the overhead costs of serving all patients. Maintaining a stable Medicaid program ensures that doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and other providers will be available to all citizens.
Medicaid is funded jointly by the state and federal government. Medicaid's matching rate is approximately 69 percent federal, 31 percent state. This matching rate is based on state per capita income and changes each year.
In FY 2016, approximately 97 cents of every dollar went directly to providing care and services to Alabama Medicaid recipients. Medicaid's administrative budget is typically 2 to 3 percent of the overall budget.