What Is The Medicaid Program
Medicaid is a federal and state program that offers low-cost or free health coverage to millions of American citizens who struggle to afford health coverage on their own. Medicaid provides help to certain low-income individuals and households, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. A portion of the funding for Medicaid is provided by the federal government and they are also the ones who set the guidelines for the program.
Medicaid programs and the exact list of benefits they offer vary between states. Medicaid programs even have different names, such as ‘Medi-Cal’ and ‘Medical Assistance’.
How Do I Qualify Medicaid Program
To qualify for the Medicaid program, you must meet the Medicaid eligibility criteria.
Eligibility criteria vary by state, however, applicants must generally meet all of the following:
- They must be a resident of the state in which they are applying
- Their financial situation is characterized as low income or very low income
- They must be a citizen of the United States or a qualified non-citizen (for example, a lawful permanent resident)
To find the exact eligibility criteria for your state, visit your state Medicaid page. There, you will also be able to find additional options for coverage and limitations on age, pregnancy, and parenting status.
Find out if you qualify for Medicaid by filling out the online form at benefits.gov/benefit/606#Eligibility_Checker.
To qualify for the Medicaid program, you will also be required to provide certain documents proving your eligibility.
- If you have a low income, you will have to prove it with an official document that shows it, such as your tax documents and income payslips. Your income must be at or below 135% of the federal poverty level in order to be Medicaid-eligible.
- If you are disabled, simply visit a Medicaid office near you or apply through a simple online application form. You will have to provide documents proving your disability.
- Children can either get Medicaid through their parents or on their own. Children can enroll in the office or online (parents should help with the application). They must provide age proof and documents proving your eligibility.
- Seniors after 55 also qualify for Medicaid services. To do so they must prove their age either online or by visiting the Medicaid office.
How to Apply for Medicaid Services
It is possible to apply for Medicaid through the Health Insurance Marketplace or directly with your state Medicaid agency. To apply through the Marketplace, visit healthcare.gov/medicaid-chip/getting-medicaid-chip, create a Marketplace account and complete the application.
The entire application process is described below:
- Step 1: Check eligibility. If you think you may be eligible based on your income, age, the number of people in your household, disability, or pregnancy, you can check your eligibility to know for sure by contacting the nearest Medicaid office or via email and social media channels.
- Step 2: Contact a Medicaid office to make sure you are eligible and to discuss any further steps- You can contact Medicaid by phone at (800) 362-1504, via email at [email protected], or by visiting the nearest office.
- Step 3: Fill out the application form. To do so, you must first create a health care account online. Visit the link above and follow the on-screen instructions. After signing up, you will be redirected to a page that will require you to provide additional information and perhaps documentation based on your eligibility criteria. Completing the entire application process may take approximately 30 minutes.
- Step 4: Get approved. After submitting the application, it may take two business days to get any feedback. You will receive a confirmation email and if you are approved, you will be able to collect your Medicaid card at the nearest office or receive it by mail to your address.
Is It Possible to Get a Free Tablet With Medicaid?
To answer this question, it is vital to know the following facts.
- People who participate in Medicaid (or some other government assistance programs) are Lifeline and Emergency Broadband Benefit-eligible.
- Lifeline is FCC’s program designed to help make communications services more affordable for low-income households.
Emergency Broadband Benefit or EBB, on the other hand, is a temporary FCC program designed to help households struggling to afford internet service during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Certain Lifeline and/or EBB providers offer tablets to eligible customers.
As such, the answer is yes – it is possible to get a free tablet with Medicaid.
What Are The Steps to Apply for a Free Tablet With Medicaid?
Applying for a free tablet with Medicaid is easy. All you have to do is to follow the simple steps below:
- Step 1: Apply for Medicaid. Only after you start participating in the Medicaid program can you apply for a free government tablet at a Lifeline provider.
- Step 2: Find a Lifeline or EBB provider in your state of residence that offers free tablets with Medicaid. The list of devices and other benefits Lifeline and EBB providers offer tends to change quickly, however, to see which providers currently offer free tablets, check out the following section.
- Step 3: After finding a Lifeline or EBB provider that offers free tablets with Medicaid, you should visit their website and apply online. To fill out the application form, you will have to provide personal information as well as proof that you participate in Medicaid and are therefore Lifeline and/or EBB-eligible.
- Step 4: In case your application gets approved, the provider will either send you the device or a voucher, which you can redeem for a free tablet. If you get a voucher, you will also receive information about where exactly you can redeem it.
- Step 5: Once you receive the free tablet, you can register it with your provider. You will have to choose an eligible plan and once all the paperwork is done, you can go ahead and use your free tablet with Medicaid.
Best Providers Who Provide Free Tablets With Medicaid
Lifeline and Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) providers all offer discounted monthly wireless services for eligible low-income customers. In addition, some of these providers also offer free smartphones and perhaps even free tablets.
However, the number of Lifeline and EBB providers who offer free tablets is very limited. Additionally, the providers constantly change and update their offers, as such, a Lifeline provider that used to offer free tablets with Medicaid now doesn’t anymore and vice versa. Therefore, it is important to stay up to date with Lifeline and EBB providers’ offers.
A while ago certain popular Lifeline and EBB providers, such as Assurance Wireless, Metro by T-Mobile, True Connect, and TracFone Wireless used to offer free tablets with Medicaid. Currently, however, only two Lifeline and EBB providers offer free tablets – StandUp Wireless and QLink Wireless. In this section, you will find out how to qualify and apply for a free tablet from StandUp and QLink Wireless.
StandUp Wireless free tablet with Medicaid
StandUp Wireless is a proud Emergency Broadband Benefit provider, and through its EBB program, the provider enables eligible participants to claim a one-time discount of up to $100 on certain devices. Due to FCC’s regulations, they have to charge at least $10.01 for the device.
StandUp Wireless offers eligible participants 8-inch tablets that work on Wi-Fi and StandUp’s mobile network, however, are not enabled to make or receive calls or text messages unless you use a Wi-Fi-enabled app, such as WhatsApp or TextNow.
StandUp Wireless also offers eligible customers a free monthly service that includes unlimited talk, text, and 10GB of data.
How to Qualify
To qualify for StandUp’s free tablet with Medicaid, you must be EBB-eligible. You are EBB-eligible if you participate in the Medicaid program. However, there are also some other ways to be EBB-eligible.
You are EBB-eligible if one (or more) of the following statements is true for you:
- You have an annual household income that is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines.
- You or any of your household members participate in certain government assistance programs, such as Medicaid, SNAP, Lifeline, etc.
- You or any of your household members have experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers.
- You or any of your household members have received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
- You or any of your household members have been approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022 school year.
How to Apply
To apply for StandUp’s free tablet, visit standupwireless.com/apply-now. Enter your ZIP code and email address and press ‘Begin Application’. Then, follow the on-screen prompts, provide the necessary information and the documentation proving that you are in fact EBB-eligible.
After submitting your application, you will also have to select an eligible plan.
Once your application has been approved, StandUp Wireless will apply your monthly discount to your bill and send you a separate email to order your free tablet.
If you are applying based on your participation in Medicaid, providing an official document proving your participation in the program should suffice. However, if you qualify based on another eligibility criteria, you may be asked to provide any of the following documents that prove your EBB-eligibility:
- An official document verifying your identity, such as a passport, state ID, other government-issued ID, U.S. Driver’s License, U.S. Military ID, etc.
- An official document showing your address, such as Driver’s license, state ID, Tribal ID, or another government-issued ID, utility bill, etc.
- An official document proving your household income, such as prior year’s state, federal, or Tribal tax return, current income statement from your employer or a paycheck stub, a Social Security statement of benefits, etc.
- An official document proving your qualifying assistance program participation, such as an approval letter, benefit award letter, statement of benefits, benefit verification letter.
- An official document proving your substantial loss of income, such as a layoff/furlough notice, unemployment application, approval letter, or benefit statement, evidence of bankruptcy or business closure, etc.
As only people of age 18 and above and emancipated minors can participate in the EBB program, you must also prove your age or your emancipated minor status by providing a certificate or a court document.
Also, make sure to only provide copies of the documents instead of original ones.
QLink Wireless free tablet with Medicaid
QLink Wireless is another popular Lifeline and EBB tablets provider. Their EBB-eligible customers can apply to receive a one-time, non-transferable device discount for a new tablet. As the FCC requires, you will have to pay $10.01 for the tablet, which they will invoice you after the application of the EBB device discount.
As EBB is a temporary government assistance program, this is a limited-time offer, subject to product availability.
Qualifying customers will also receive unlimited data, talk, and text.
How to Qualify
To qualify for QLink’s free tablet with Medicaid, you must be EBB-eligible. You are EBB-eligible if you participate in the Medicaid program. However, there are also some other ways to be EBB-eligible.
You can check out other EBB eligibility criteria in the previous (StandUp Wireless) section.
How to Apply
To apply for QLink’s EBB program and the free tablet, visit qlinkwireless.com/signup/g-6-717. Enter your ZIP code and email address and press ‘Get It Now’. Then, follow the instructions and fill out the form by providing all the necessary information and required documentation, which will prove your EBB eligibility.
After submitting your application, you will also be required to select an eligible plan.
Once your application has been approved, QLink Wireless will apply your monthly discount to your bill and send you your free tablet.
If you are applying based on your participation in Medicaid, providing an official document proving your participation in the program should suffice. However, if you qualify based on another eligibility criteria, you may be asked to provide any other document that verifies your identity and proves your EBB eligibility. See the full list of the documents that you may be required to provide in the previous (StandUp Wireless) section.
Can I Get a Free Tablet Another Way – Other Than Using Medicaid?
Aside from using Medicaid, there are lots of other ways for you to get a free tablet.
Lifeline and EBB program
The best way to get a free tablet is through the Lifeline and/or EBB assistance program. As mentioned before, participating in Medicaid will give you Lifeline and EBB-eligibility. However, there are many other ways to be Lifeline or EBB eligible.
You can also be EBB-eligible based on:
- Your annual household income. It must be at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines.
- Your participation in certain government assistance programs, such as Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit, Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Tribal Head Start, Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, and Lifeline.
- If you or any of your household members have experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers.
- If you or any of your household members have received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
- If you or any of your household members have been approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022 school year.
Charities and Non-profit Organizations
Low-income families and individuals may also get a free tablet through a charity or non-profit organization, such as The Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army is a non-profit organization that provides people in need with basic services. They provide clothes, food, furniture, as well as other necessities. They also provide electronic devices, such as tablets. To find out more and to check whether or not you can get a free tablet from them, check out their official website or contact them. After reviewing your financial situation, they may invite you to complete the procedure to get a free tablet.
There are several companies that offer free tablets to low-income people. These companies include:
- Accelerated Schools Program
- Computer Technology Assistance Corps
- Computers For Learning
- Komputers 4 Kids
- Microsoft Registered Refurbished
- On It Foundation
- Technology Assisting People In Need
- World Computer Exchange
Contact them to check if you can get a free tablet from them.
Public libraries may not hand out free tablets, however, if you wish to simply use a tablet or a computer, public libraries tend to have both. They also offer internet access and book access.
Churches receive all kinds of donations. If you are a person in need, you may check with your local church if they offer any free tablets.
Certain websites, such as Craigslist and Freecycle offer second-hand items that are either very cheap or even free of charge. You may also find second-hand items on Reddit and social media. In addition, lots of shops and businesses offer buyback programs where you can find used and/or refurbished tablets and other electronic devices.
What Are The Benefits of Having a Tablet?
Nowadays, having a tablet or a similar electronic device offers many benefits, including:
- Tablets provide access to information and online education.
- Tablets provide a way to access virtual classrooms, read books, do assignments, watch educational videos, etc.
- Tablets enable you to stay connected to work and/or to seek out better job opportunities.
- Tablets enable you to communicate with your family and friends. They provide access to news, social media, and other communication tools, which you may need for private or professional projects.
- Tablets come with a large variety of tools and apps and a large display, which enables you to use them more easily than on smartphones.
- Tablets provide internet access and offer countless entertainment options, such as games, music, videos, etc.
Can I Get a Government Free Tablet?
You can get a free government tablet if you are Lifeline or EBB-eligible. Check out the eligibility criteria in the ‘Can I Get a Free Tablet Another Way – Other Than Using Medicaid?’ section. There are also some other ways to get a free tablet.
Can I Get a Government Free Laptop?
There are several ways to get a free laptop if you are a person in need. You can get it through a government free grant, a charity, a non-profit organization, a company, a church, etc.
Can I Get a Government Free Phone With Medicaid Program?
Yes, as participating in Medicaid makes you Lifeline and EBB-eligible and many Lifeline and EBB providers offer free phones, you can easily get a free government phone with Medicaid.
Does EBB Program Offer Free Tablets?
Yes, certain EBB providers offer free tablets to eligible customers. Read more in the ‘Best Providers Who Provide Free Tablets With Medicaid’ section.