Getting Medical Assistance

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Authored By: Iowa Legal Aid

Where can I get help paying for health care in Iowa?

Many people need help paying for health care. Iowa has several programs that may help you. Medicaid is one of those programs.

What is Medicaid or Title 19?

Medicaid, also called "Title 19," pays for medical care for some people who don't earn much money, or have very many resources (property or savings, including cds, stocks, and bonds.

Who gets Medicaid?

Children under 21 can get Medicaid. You may also get Medicaid if:

  • You are a parent with a child under 19 living with you;
  • You are over 65;
  • You are pregnant;
  • You need treatment for breast or cervical cancer;
  • You are blind or have a disability;
  • You live in a nursing home; or
  • You need family planning services.
To get Medicaid:
  • You must live in Iowa.
  • You can't earn too much money or have too many resources.
  • You must be a US citizen or legally qualified immigrant (except for emergency care for up to 3 days).
  • You must have a social security number or show you applied for one (except for emergency care for up to 3 days).

Iowa Health and Wellness Program

This is Iowa's Medicaid expansion program under the Affordable Care Act. It provides health insurance for people between the ages of 18 and 65. You must have income that is low enough for the program, but the income limits are higher than for regular Medicaid. You may be required to pay a monthly premium. You also do not need to have a child or be disabled.


You can apply for Medicaid at any Department of Health and Human Services office. Call 1-800-972-2017 to find the office near you. You may also apply online at the HHS website.

What if I earn too much for my child to get Medicaid?

Hawki pays for health services for some children under 19 who can't get other health insurance.

Who gets Hawki?

Your child may get Hawki if:

  • Your child lives in Iowa.
  • Your family doesn't earn more than the limit set by hawk-i.
  • Your child is a US citizen or a qualified immigrant.
Call 1-800-257-8563 (TTY: 1-888-422-2319) and ask them to mail you an application. You may also  apply online at the HHS website.

Is there other help for Seniors and people with disabilities?
  • Medicare pays for health care for seniors and people with disabilities.
  • Medicare pays for hospital care, nursing home care, doctor's care and more.
  • You have to pay a fee for some of the services.
  • Types of Medicare coverage are organized into different “parts”:
    •    Part A is hospital insurance and covers hospital stays, hospice care, and skilled nursing care a person may need to rehabilitate after being hospitalized.  
    •    Part B is medical insurance and covers doctor visits, lab tests, diagnostic screenings, medical equipment, ambulance transportation, and other outpatient services.  
    •    Part C is another name for Medicare Advantage.  Part C is managed by private insurance companies and bundles together services covered by Part A and B with extra benefits.  
    •    Part D pays for some prescription drugs and is also managed by private insurance companies.

Who gets Medicare?

You may get Medicare if:

  • You are 65 years old or older.
  • You are under 65 years old with certain disabilities and have been disabled for 24 months.
  • You are any age with end-stage kidney disease.
  • You can apply for Medicare at your local Social Security office. You can also call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778). For details about Medicare, go to the Iowa Legal Aid Website.
Be aware of scammers – guard your Medicare card and number just like you would a credit card.  Check Medicare claims summary forms for mistakes.  Do not give your Medicare number to anyone calling you over the telephone.
Can Medicaid Help me Pay for Medicare Premiums?
  • Yes. If you are entitled to receive Medicare Part A, and your income and resources are low enough, then you may qualify for a form of Medicaid to help you pay your Medicare Part A and Part B premiums, coinsurance, and deductibles.
  • You can apply for Medicaid at any Department of Health and Human Services office. Call 1-800-972-2017 to find the office near you. You may also apply online at the HHS website .
What if I can't get on any of these programs?

Another place where you can get free or low cost care is from your county. Every county in Iowa has a General Relief office and programs to assist eligible veterans. Many counties also have a public hospital that must give free care to some people who live there. Ask the hospital's business office if the hospital is a county public hospital and ask for an application for free care.

There may also be a free or low-cost medical clinic serving your area. Check the Free Clinics of Iowa webpage at to see if there is a free clinic in your county.

Last Review and Update: Jan 16, 2024
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