Last updated: June 19, 2018


This page tells you what happens after you apply for Medicaid coverage.

After I apply for Medicaid, what happens next?

The first thing you should do after you apply for Medicaid is set up your Manage My Case (MMC) account. You can track your application and keep your mailing address updated on MMC. You can follow our instructions on how to set up an MMC by clicking here.

After you submit your application the Department of Human Services (DHS) will send mail to your address. They will either send:

  • A letter asking for more information OR 
  • A letter telling you if you are eligible, or approved, for Medicaid. You should get the letter 1 to 2 months after you apply.

If you are not eligible because you are over income or don’t meet other eligibility requirements, Medicaid will send your application to the Marketplace. Learn more about applying for Marketplace coverage here.

In most cases, except some All Kids coverage, coverage will begin on the first day of the month in which you applied.

If your address changes, call the DHS Helpline right away at (800) 843-6154 or update your address on Manage My Case. Learn more about using Manage My Case here

What if I need medical care while I am waiting for my Medicaid card?

If you have an emergency or serious medical problems, you can go to an emergency room for treatment.

If you need to see a doctor while you are waiting for Medicaid to be approved, tell your doctor you have applied for Medicaid and keep any medical bills you get. If you are approved for Medicaid, ask your provider to submit these bills to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) for payment.

If you need a prescription while you are waiting for Medicaid to be approved talk to your doctor. They may be able to help you get the medicine for free or lower cost.

When will I get my medical card?

If you receive a letter saying you are approved for Medicaid, the last two pages of this letter will have your Recipient Identification (RIN). This letter is your HFS Medical Card. Your HFS Medical Card has the RIN, name, and birth date for everyone enrolled in your family.

Keep the letter safe. It has important information.

Choosing a Health Plan in Managed Care

Once approved for Medicaid, most people with a Medical Card will be required to choose a health plan in a managed care program and a primary care provider, who is your main doctor. Go to this page for more information.

Not all individuals will be required to pick a plan and a primary care provider. Some will continue to use their medical card to get care and see doctors.


Renewing or Keeping Your Coverage

It is important to renew Medicaid each year to make sure you are still covered.

Every year, you will receive a letter in the mail or a notice in your online Manage My Case account 2 months before your coverage is scheduled to end that tells you how to renew your coverage. This is called Redetermination. If the notice asks you to provide further information or sign and send any forms back, you must do this to keep your coverage.

Click here to learn more about setting up a Manage My Case account so you can renew your coverage more easily.