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Last updated: May 21, 2018

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This section tells you how to apply for Medicaid and how to use your medical card to get care.

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a name for health insurance from the state. It also has other names depending on what type of Medicaid Coverage Group you fit into. For example, the different Coverage Groups are called Moms and Babies, All Kids, Aid to the Aged, Blind, and Disabled (AABD), and ACA Adult. Some people also call Medicaid the Medical Card.

How do I know if I’m eligible for Medicaid coverage?

In Illinois, the best way to find out if you might be eligible for Medicaid coverage is to answer a few basic questions on the State of Illinois’ Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) screening tool, under “Check if I should Apply.”

A Navigator or an Assister is a trained, unbiased professional that can help you and your family find the right health coverage. You can schedule a free, in-person appointment with a Navigator here for help finding out if you are eligible for Medicaid or other public benefits:

How do I apply for Medicaid?

ABE – Application for Benefits Eligibility – is the website used to apply for Medicaid and other benefits in Illinois: https://abe.illinois.gov/abe/access/

In some cases, your Medicaid can be backdated up to three months from the day you apply, if you were eligible and had medical expenses during those three months. You may be eligible during the three months before your application date even if you are found ineligible at the time you apply. You must ask for backdating when you apply.

If you aren’t sure whether you already have Medicaid coverage, you can call the state’s Automated Voice Recognition System at 1-855-828-4995 with your Recipient Identification Number (RIN) to see if it’s active.

What are my next steps?

Follow these links to find out what you should do after you have applied for Medicaid coverage.

Setting up Manage My Case

After Applying – What’s Next? 

You should know that you can appeal any decision, action, or inaction that you do not agree with that has been made by the Department of Human Services (DHS) or the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). For example, you can file an appeal if you are cut off of Medicaid or denied Medicaid after you apply. Go to this page for more information on how to make an appeal about your Medicaid case.

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Applying for Other Benefits

If you are applying for Medicaid, you can use the same application (ABE) for other types of assistance:

  • SNAP – Sometimes called food stamps, for help buying food
  • Cash Assistance – Help pay for food, shelter, utilities, and expenses for families in need
  • Medicare Savings – Help paying Medicare premiums

Here is more information on how to apply for other benefits.