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Having to apply for Medicaid is embarrassing enough for most people. The State of Pennsylvania automatically gives it to children in their first year of life. Automatically receiving or gaining a new benefit does not tell the applicant or the parent how to go about using such benefits in the first place.

If the applicant does not have food stamps, the state he lives in issues a plastic card that the client presents at the doctor during an appointment or at the drug store when he picks up prescription medication. Merely presenting the plastic card to a doctor or a pharmacist does not ensure that a patient can use his benefits there.

How Does a Person Use Medicaid Benefits?

No doctor’s office, hospital or insurance company accepts every insurance plan out there. Some companies prefer not to accept Medicaid benefits at all. Attempting to present a Medicaid card or the green Access card if the client receives food stamps also does nothing unless the place of business is set up to accept Medicaid benefits. If a person wants to use his Medicaid benefits, he must find a doctor that accepts them. The preliminary research about which doctors accept the state-sponsored health insurance plans and which cannot can be conducted by using the yellow pages of the local phone book. If the patient needs to see a specialist, such as a dentist, he may need to extend his or her search area. Large hospitals typically accept Medicaid benefits, although individual specialists may not take them.

Medicaid Benefits and Psychiatric Care

Medicaid benefits do cover psychiatric care, but many psychiatrists prefer to take patients with private insurance plans or who can pay for the sessions out-of-pocket. For regular office visits of any kind, a patient using this program may have a small co-pay or the entire cost of the visit gets covered. Emergency services get billed to the agency that oversees Medicare, and the unpaid portion gets billed to the client.