Medicaid is not just for people on public assistance. You may be eligible for Medicaid even though you have too much money to qualify for public assistance.
Whether you are on public assistance or not, Medicaid can help you pay for hospital care and most other doctor, dentist, and prescription bills.
How do I apply?
If you are a Nassau County resident, to get an application, call the Medicaid office at (516) 227-8000 and ask them to mail one to you. Or pick one up on the first floor of the Nassau County Department of Social Services, 60 Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Uniondale, NY 11553-3656.
If you are a Suffolk County resident, there are two offices that process Medicaid only applications. The Riverhead Center covers eastern Suffolk County and they can be reached at (631) 852-3710 to request an application. The Smithtown Center covers western Suffolk County and they can be reached at (631) 853-8730.
Return the filled-out application as soon as possible to the appropriate County Department of Social Services. You may apply for Medicaid at any time. You should be provided with an application and be allowed to submit it on the day in which you request assistance. In addition, you must get a written notice telling you whether or not you qualify.
What happens next?
Shortly thereafter, you should get a letter setting a date and time for an interview at the Medicaid office. The letter will say where your interview will be held. The letter may also ask you to bring certain documents. If you cannot keep the appointment, call the Medicaid office to make another one (your worker’s number should be on the letter). If you do not show up or call, your application will be denied.
On the day of your appointment, check in at the reception desk. The interview usually lasts from 30 minutes to an hour. The Medicaid worker will check your income and resources (bank account, car, etc.).
The Medicaid worker will make copies of the documents you bring in and should return the originals to you. You will be given a list of other documents which you will need to submit within 10 days after your interview. Keep copies of all documents submitted in support of your application.
What if I cannot get the documents?
If you cannot submit the documents on the list within 10 days, or cannot get one or more of them at all, the worker may give you more time or let you substitute other documents. Call your worker and explain. Your worker is required to help you get the documents you need. Ask for help.
If your worker does not hear from you, your application will be denied. If you are denied because you did not get documents in on time, you may apply again within 30 days without having to fill out a new application or submitting documents that you have already given to the Medicaid office.
How long must I wait?
The whole application process should take no more than 45 days. It can take up to 90 days if you think you have a disability. There may be delays. If your application is not decided within 45 days of the date you submitted it, call our office. Recent class action litigation addresses Medicaid delays. You may also call the Empire Justice Center at (631) 650-2305.
If you are accepted, you should get a Medicaid card within 2 weeks, but often this takes longer. Also, Medicaid may pay your medical bills for 3 months before the month in which you filed your application. This includes services from a non-Medicaid enrolled provider. Ask your worker if you qualify.
What if I have a medical emergency?
You may be able to get a temporary Medicaid card if you have an emergency.
If you have a medical emergency when you apply, tell the person who gives you the application on first floor. They will tell you which is your assigned floor. Go to that floor and explain your emergency to the supervisor. If the supervisor thinks it is an emergency, s/he will arrange for your temporary card.
For emergencies that happen after you get your appointment letter or attend your appointment, call your worker. If it seems that you are going to be eligible, the worker may arrange for you to get a temporary card.
What if my application is denied?
If your application is denied, call Nassau/Suffolk Law Services immediately. We will review the denial with you, and if it appears wrong, we will tell you how to challenge it, or we may agree to take your case. Also, if you have other Medicaid problems, feel free to call us for help.