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Maryland Health InsuranceIndividuals and Families

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Government Assisted Maryland Health Insurance Plans

H. Government Assistance Programs - The federal government has established two major government assistance programs to ensure that targeted populations can obtain medical services. These programs -- Medicare and Medicaid -- are funded by the federal government. In Maryland, the programs are called: (i) Medicare; (ii) Maryland's Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid); and (iii) Maryland's Children's Health Insurance Program (MCHIP), which is a Medicaid program. Each of these programs is described briefly below.

Medicare - Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people age 65 or older, people under 65 with certain disabilities, and persons of any age who have End-Stage Renal Disease. Enrollees may choose between the "Original Medicare Plan" and "Medicare Advantage Plan." For additional information about Medicare, including premium rates and specific services covered, view the federal government's consumer guide, "Medicare & You" on its website, or call 800-633-4227 to request a copy of the Guide.

Medicaid or Maryland's Medical Assistance Program - Maryland's Medical Assistance Program is a government-funded health insurance program for people with limited income and people with disabilities who meet income-sensitive eligibility guidelines and other criteria. If you receive benefits under Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI) or Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA), you are automatically enrolled in Medicaid. Otherwise, you must apply. You must show that you are incomeeligible and:

  1. 65 years or older; or
  2. disabled; or
  3. blind; or
  4. under 21 years old; or
  5. caring for a related child in your home; or
  6. pregnant; or
  7. the parents of an unmarried child under 21.

Because countable income is not the same as your actual income, determining whether your income qualifies is a complicated process. Thus, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) advises that if you think you may qualify for Medicaid, you should apply and a caseworker will determine whether you meet the eligibility requirements.

Maryland's Children's Health Insurance Program (MCHIP) - Under this state program, pregnant women of any age and their newborn children, and children up to age 19 may qualify for Medicaid. For those who qualify, the state also offers a prescription plan, called, "Maryland Medicaid Pharmacy Plan." For more information about this plan and Maryland's Medicaid program or the Maryland Children's Health Insurance Program, visit the DHMH's web site at The contact information for your local department of social services is also available on this website. You may also contact the DHMH Recipient Relations Hotline at: 410-767-5800 or 800-492-5231.

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