Medical Assistance (MA) is Minnesota’s Medicaid program for people with low income.
Most people who have MA get health care through health plans. You can choose a health plan from those serving MA members in your county.
Members who do not get health care through a health plan get care on a fee-for-service basis, with providers billing the state directly for services they provide.
MA is Minnesota's largest health care program and serves children and families, pregnant women, adults without children, seniors and people who are blind or have a disability.
The information on these pages does not cover all program rules. To find out if you qualify, you must apply.
Find answers to other common questions not addressed on this page in our FAQs about MA.
To get coverage, you must:
Be a Minnesota resident
Be a U.S. citizen or a qualifying noncitizen
Provide a Social Security number for each person requesting MA, unless an exception is met
Meet the income limit and asset limit, if any
Meet any other program rules.;
What is the income limit?
The income limit and calculations depend on your age and who lives with you. If you are pregnant, blind or have a disability, you also may have a different income limit.
Some people who do not meet the income limit still may qualify using a spenddown (PDF). A spenddown is like an insurance deductible. This means you are responsible for some medical bills before MA pays.
What is the asset limit?
Assets are items people own like cars, checking and savings accounts, your home and financial investments.
Generally, there is no asset limit for MA for parents, children under 21 and adults without children in the home.
Parents and caretaker relatives eligible for MA 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).
Assets that do not count toward the limit include the home where you live, household goods, personal items like clothing and jewelry, and certain assets owned by an American Indian.
What if I have other insurance?
You still may qualify for MA. You must tell us if you have other health insurance or could get coverage through an employer or military service.
Sometimes we can pay the cost of the other insurance so you can keep that coverage.
What is covered and how much does it cost?
MA pays for a variety of services like doctor visits, prescriptions and hospital stays. Some services and prescriptions may require prior approval.
For some members, there is no cost. Others may have to pay a portion of the cost of a service. This may include copays, deductibles or spenddowns.
You will get more details on covered services after your application is approved.
When does coverage start?
MA may pay for medical bills going back three months from the month we get your application.
In certain circumstances, state and federal laws require the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) and local agencies to recover costs that the MA program pays for its members. This recovery process is done through Minnesota’s MA estate recovery program.
If I receive MA, will a lien be filed against my home?
It depends on your circumstances.
DHS may file an MA lien against real property to recover MA costs before you die, but only if you are permanently living in a medical institution.
DHS may also file a notice of potential claim, a form of lien, against real property to recover MA costs after you die. A notice of potential claim cannot be enforced against real property until after you die.
Liens used to recover MA costs can be filed against any of these interests:
Your life estate or joint tenancy interest in real property
Real property you own by yourself
Real property you own with someone else
If you own property with another person, the lien is only against your share.
Will a claim be filed against my estate after I die?
It depends on your circumstances.
If you are enrolled in MA when you are 55 years old or older, then, after you die, Minnesota must recover the amount that MA paid for your health care after you turned 55 years old. Minnesota recovers this amount by filing a claim against your estate after your death.
Minnesota must seek recovery of MA health care costs regardless of your age if both of the following apply:
You permanently lived in a medical institution.
You received long-term-care services paid for by MA while living there.
The amount of a claim is no more than what MA paid for your health care services.
Most of the time, the cost of MA services does not have to be paid back until after you die and only when there is not a surviving spouse, a child under 21 or a child who is permanently disabled. When you die and you are survived by your spouse, the claim may be filed against the estate of your spouse.
A claim may be filed against your home within your estate and collected upon only when none of these people are still living in the home:
A sibling who lived with you in your home for at least one year before you moved to a medical institution and has been living there since that date
An adult child or grandchild who lived with you in your home and gave you care so you could live at home for at least two years before you moved to a medical institution and has been living there since that date
If your home is sold or transferred, then the two exceptions above do not apply anymore, and Minnesota can collect against the value of the home.
There are different ways to apply for MA, depending on what type of coverage you need.