Can You Have Medicaid and Private Insurance?

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Written By kevin

A financial strategist with a knack for demystifying taxes and insurance, Kevin distills complex concepts into actionable advice.

Yes, it is possible to have both Medicaid and private health insurance simultaneously. This situation, often referred to as dual coverage, can provide financial benefits and a broader range of care options for those who meet certain income requirements.

Understanding Dual Coverage

Dual coverage refers to individuals who qualify for Medicaid and are also eligible for employer-sponsored or privately purchased insurance plans. It’s crucial to consider personal circumstances when deciding if dual coverage is the right choice.

Benefits of Dual Coverage

Dual coverage offers several advantages:

  • Broader range of care options: With two health insurance policies, you may be able to access a wider network of healthcare providers.
  • Reduced out-of-pocket costs: Both private insurance plans and Medicaid often require co-payments, but with dual coverage, one policy may cover expenses not covered by the other.
  • Improved financial protection: If one policy doesn’t cover a specific medical expense, the secondary policy may provide additional support.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for both types of insurance at once:

  • Income: To qualify for Medicaid, your annual gross income must fall below a certain level based on your household size. If your current household income exceeds this amount but still meets federal poverty guidelines, you may be able to obtain subsidized private insurance through
  • Insurance Plans: Your eligibility will depend on whether your employer offers an affordable health plan that meets minimum value standards set by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Coordination Of Benefits

When you have two different health policies covering the same service or treatment need, coordination between them is crucial. It determines which insurer pays first – primary vs secondary payer – ensuring any remaining payment obligations come from the other plan.

  • Primary Payer: The Health Plan that pays benefits first for services and treatments.
  • Secondary Payer: The Health Plan that pays next, after the primary plan.

This coordination optimizes savings by reducing out-of-pocket costs. Therefore, it’s essential to understand how it will work before obtaining dual health insurance.


Dual coverage can offer significant financial advantages and a wider range of healthcare options. However, deciding on which plans make sense for you or coordinating payment between two separate payers can also be confusing tasks. So understanding your health insurance policies is necessary before choosing this option or making claims from both Medicaid and private insurers to avoid facing negative consequences such as denials or even losing benefits altogether.

Remember, Medicaid eligibility rules differ among states, and you must be a resident of the state in which you are receiving Medicaid. Therefore, it’s crucial to check the specific rules in your state.


Can I have both Medicaid and private health insurance?

Yes, you can be enrolled in both Medicaid and a private health insurance plan at the same time. This is called having “dual coverage.” Dual coverage may help cover additional healthcare costs that your primary plan does not cover.

If I have dual coverage, which insurance pays first?

It depends on your situation. Your primary insurance will usually pay for covered services first. After that, your secondary (Medicaid) coverage may act as a backup to cover any remaining costs after your primary insurer has paid its share.

If I qualify for both Medicaid and private health insurance, do I need to enroll in both?

No, you don’t necessarily need to enroll in both programs. If you have access to affordable private health insurance through an employer or otherwise, then it may make sense to stick with only private coverage. Enrolling in Medicaid, however, could offer additional benefits and cost savings for specific medical expenses if you have Medicare coverage or are in financial difficulty. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each option before making a decision.