How to Apply for Free Health Care in Texas

Before you apply

1.

Find out whether you are eligible, through one of two ways.

Go online to www.yourtexasbenefits.com. On the left side of the webpage, click on the button that says "Complete Screening." Follow the directions and complete the questionnaire as best you can. At the end of the questionnaire, you will receive your results and find out if you are qualified to receive free health care in Texas. If you don't have access to the Internet, you can visit a Health and Human Services Commission benefits office near you and someone will assist you with finding out your eligibility status. Call 2-1-1 to find out an HHSC benefits office nearest your home. If you are unable to travel to the office for any reason--due to disability, sickness or no transportation--an HHSC worker can speak with you on the phone or visit you at home.

2.

If you are eligible, obtain an application packet online at http://www.yourtexasbenefits.com or request that a copy be sent to you. Review the application packet.

3.

Find out what documents are needed to serve as proof of your eligibility. A complete list of required documents is listed in the application packet.

4.

Gather the necessary documentation and make photocopies of them.

Applying to Medicaid

1.

Fill out the application. You can apply directly online at www.yourtexasbenefits.com or if you prefer, you can print out a hard copy of the application which can also be found on that website. Alternatively, if you would rather complete the application on the phone or in person, contact HHSC.

2.

Make or request photocopies of your completed application.

3.

Submit the completed application and documents via the Internet, mail, fax, phone, or in person.

4.

Wait for a decision. If your application is approved, you will be informed of your benefits and how to use them.

5.

If you disagree with the decision or the benefits you received, you have the right to appeal by requesting for a fair hearing which is a "meeting conducted by a regional hearing officer with any applicant or client who disagrees with and wishes to appeal an action taken on your case." Contact HHSC for more details.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you need assistance at any point during the application process, the Texas Health and Human Service Commission has people available to help you. Simply call 2-1-1. Interpreters are also available if you need something to be translated.
  • Make photocopies of all the application materials that you submit. Keeping a record of everything is a good idea in case documentation gets misplaced or is lost.
  • The screening test does not determine whether you'll actually be able to receive free health care benefits. Its purpose is to give you a general idea of your eligibility status. The only sure way to find out if you can get free health care is by applying.
  • Depending on your financial situation and whether you fit certain criteria, you will either receive a benefits package that will cover all health care costs or you may be required to pay a small co-payment for services. The GovBenefits.gov website specifies that to qualify in general, your financial situation has to be considered "low income or very low income." In addition, you must fit into one of the following categories: "You must also be either pregnant, a parent or relative caretaker of a dependent child(ren) under age 19, blind, have a disability or a family member in your household with a disability, or be 65 years of age or older."
  • In today's economy, private health insurance is unaffordable for many people in the United States. Fortunately, Medicaid is a government program that provides health care to those who need it but cannot afford it and thus, "might otherwise go without it." The Medicaid program is available in Texas to people who meet certain requirements. In order to get free health care in Texas, you must apply for it first and get accepted to the program before you can begin to receive benefits.