Medicaid, or Medical Assistance as it’s called in Minnesota, has been a valuable safety net for people who lost their jobs or their health insurance during the pandemic. But as COVID-19 has become more manageable and the declared public health emergency has ended, Medical Assistance eligibility requirements are changing.

We’ll walk you through the Medical Assistance eligibility requirements and income limits for Minnesota Health Care Programs so you’ll have a better idea of what you might qualify for in 2024.

Who is eligible for Medical Assistance?

Whether you’re eligible for Medical Assistance or not depends on a combination of factors, including age, income level and family size, as well as additional factors such as if you’re pregnant or have a disability. Each state can also choose to implement Medical Assistance expansions for additional health insurance options. Even though health insurance isn’t required in Minnesota, these expansions allow states to broaden their eligibility requirements to cover other groups, like people receiving home and community-based services or children in foster care who may not be eligible otherwise.

Medical Assistance programs available in Minnesota

There are many ways that publicly funded health care programs in the state of Minnesota are delivered, including MinnesotaCare, Special Needs BasicCare (SNBC) and Minnesota Senior Health Options (MSHO). Each program serves different groups of people and has unique requirements.

How to qualify for Medical Assistance

Medical Assistance is Minnesota’s term for Medicaid. It covers low-income Minnesotans, including children and pregnant women, as well as people with disabilities. There is no monthly premium and enrollment is available year-round.

To qualify for Medical Assistance (Medicaid) in Minnesota, you must:

  • Be a Minnesota resident
  • Be a U.S. citizen or qualifying noncitizen
  • Have a Social Security number, unless you meet an exception
  • Meet income and asset guidelines
  • Meet any other program rules (rules vary by program)

What is the income limit for Medical Assistance?

How much income you can have and still qualify for Medical Assistance depends on your age, the size of your family and if you’re pregnant or have a disability. The Income and Asset Guidelines (PDF) highlights the income limit for all of the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) Minnesota Health Care Programs.

If your income is more than the limit, you may still be able to get health insurance using a spenddown. A spenddown lets you deduct certain medical expenses from your income. After deducting these medical expenses, if your income is at or below the limit, MA will pay the remaining costs of covered services.

What is the asset limit for Medical Assistance?

The assets you own, like your car, home or financial investments, might play a role in your eligibility for Medical Assistance.

  • Parents, children under 21 and adults without children in the home usually do not have an asset limit.
  • Parents and caretaker relatives eligible for Medical Assistance with a spenddown have an asset limit (PDF).
  • Seniors and people age 21 and older who are blind or have a disability have an asset limit (PDF).

How to qualify for MinnesotaCare

MinnesotaCare covers lower-income Minnesotans who aren't eligible for Medical Assistance.

To qualify for MinnesotaCare, you must:

  • Be under age 65
  • Be a Minnesota resident
  • Be a U.S. citizen or lawfully present in the U.S.
  • Meet income and asset guidelines
  • Not be enrolled in or have access to Medicare Part A
  • Not be enrolled in Medicare Part B
  • Not be incarcerated, unless you’re awaiting disposition of charges

How to enroll in Special Needs BasicCare

For people with disabilities, SNBC provides all the benefits of Medical Assistance but with added perks like care coordination support that helps you access the services you need.

To enroll in SNBC, you must:

  • Have a state- or federally-certified disability
  • Be between 18 and 64 years old
  • Be enrolled in Medical Assistance and don’t have a spenddown at the time of SNBC enrollment

How to enroll in Minnesota Senior Health Options

Minnesota Senior Health Options combines the benefits of Medicare and Medical Assistance (Medicaid) coverage into one health insurance plan. It also provides extra perks and benefits when you need them. Learn about the differences between Medicare and Medical Assistance (Medicaid) and how they can work together.

To qualify for MSHO, you must:

  • Be a Minnesota resident
  • Be 65 or older
  • Be eligible for both Medical Assistance and Medicare Parts A and B