Can a Person Keep Private Insurance When They Are on Medicaid?


If you have limited income, are under the age of 65 or disabled and have medical needs you cannot afford, you may qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid is a state-run public insurance program that assists low-income persons with paying for health care. In most cases, you must not be able to afford private insurance to qualify for Medicaid. However, some Medicaid programs assist with paying private insurance premiums for patients who cannot afford to do so.

Financial Hardship

In certain cases, Medicaid can pay the health insurance premiums on private insurance for you. For example, if you have just lost your job or otherwise cannot afford your health insurance premiums, Medicaid may be able to help you with your insurance premiums. Medicaid sometimes pays premiums for low-income customers even if their income is not low enough to qualify for full Medicaid coverage.


Medicaid has a special program for people who suffer from Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome, commonly known as AIDS. If a person is diagnosed with this disease, Medicaid may pay his health insurance premiums. As with other Medicaid programs, some patients may qualify for premium payment coverage even if they do not qualify for regular Medicaid coverage. This is especially true of AIDS patients, who may have to pay for expensive tests or drugs.


You should apply for Medicaid immediately if you are having trouble paying your health insurance premiums, especially if you have just lost your job or face other serious financial problems. Some Medicaid programs, such as the COBRA payment program, are time-dependent. If you wait too long after the event to apply for assistance, you may not qualify for help that might otherwise be available.

State-Run Program

Although Medicaid is funded primarily by the federal government, it is run by the state. Therefore, the qualifications for receiving Medicaid coverage and the services Medicaid offers differ from state to state. If you are having trouble covering your medical expenses even with private insurance or cannot afford your private insurance premiums, contact the Department of Social Services in your county to ask whether you qualify for Medicaid and how to apply.

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