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Medicaid Programs for Older Adults

Medicaid Programs for Older Adults

Medicaid is a federal government program that provides health insurance to low-income individuals and families who cannot afford healthcare costs. 

Medicaid may help pay for certain medical expenses, such as medical bills, prescriptions, vision and dental care, nursing home care, personal care services, and more.

Who is eligible?

There are unique guidelines for different Medicaid programs. You can see these additional requirements in the description of the programs. To be eligible for general Medicaid, you must:

  • Meet income guidelines

  • Be a US citizen or give proof of eligible immigration status
  • Live in North Carolina and provide proof of residency
  • Have a Social Security number or have applied for one

To receive Medicaid, you do not have to go through a physical or other type of exam, unless you are applying because you are disabled and do not currently receive Social Security Disability Insurance. If you are applying for Medicaid because you are pregnant, proof of pregnancy is needed.

How can I apply? What should I bring with me?

You can apply for Medicaid online or visit your local Department of Social Services (DSS) office. You can also complete a paper application and drop it off or mail it to your local DSS.

When applying for Medicaid, provide the following information:

  • Birth certificate

  • Social Security card

  • Photo ID

  • Proof of citizenship or immigration status (passport, green card, employment authorization card)

  • Paycheck stubs from the last month, a written letter from your employer with wage amounts, or tax records for the previous year

  • Proof of all income from sources like Social Security, Veterans Benefits (VA), and retirement benefits - Bank statements are NOT an acceptable proof of income - MUST provide an award letter

  • Bank statements from the last month for ALL accounts

  • Copies of all life insurance policies

  • Proof of any property that you own (home, land, vehicle, etc)

  • Proof of residency (rent receipt, mortgage, lease, or written statement from landlord)

  • Insurance benefit card, if you have any other health insurance

  • Medicare card, if you have Medicare

Medicaid for the Aged (MAA)

This program provides health insurance to low-income adults over age 65.

Your resources may not be more than $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a married couple. The value of your home, one car, home furnishings, clothing and jewelry are not counted. Resources include:

  • Cash

  • Bank accounts

  • Retirement accounts

  • Stocks and bonds

  • Cash value of life insurance policies

  There are income limits to be eligible. See the table below:

If your family income and resources are over the limit and you have high medical bills, you may still qualify for Medicaid and have a Medicaid deductible (see program information below).

Medicaid with a Deductible

This program provides health insurance to low-income parents, children, older adults, and people with disabilities whose family income and resources are over the income limit and who have high medical bills.

You will be eligible for Medicaid on the date that the medical costs add up to the amount of the deductible. If you have a large medical expense or if you are close to meeting your deductible, take your bills to your local Department of Social Services office as soon as you get them. Remember to keep receipts.

Unpaid medical bills and any current medical expenses count toward meeting your deductible.

Unpaid Medical Bills

  • The bill must be less than 2 years old or have a payment paid on it within the last 2 years

  • The bill must be unpaid, and the medical provider must still be billing you

  • All medical insurance you had at the time must have been filed

Current Medical Expenses

  • Hospital, clinic, and laboratory charges

  • Visits to the doctor, dentist, or therapist

  • Prescription drugs

  • Over the counter drugs 

  • Medical supplies, such as bandages, needles, incontinence pads, etc

  • Equipment such as dentures, eyeglasses, hearing aids, walkers, etc

  • Transportation to the doctor or hospital

To find help in the NC 2-1-1 database, search by:


Need more information?

If you didn't find what you need on this page or need more information on local resources, dial 2-1-1 or 888-892-1162. Our call specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Prepared by: NC 2-1-1/LP

Date Updated: May 23, 2018

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