STEP 1: Qualifying for a health plan
Getting the support you need
When you turn 18, the health care system that has supported you as a child changes. As a youth under 18, you have been able to use services and supports designed for children. But as an adult age 18 and older, your health care choices change. As an adult, you will need to apply for health care and support.
A health plan, like UCare, can help set up support and services. This help can reduce the number of programs you need to apply for. However, support and service programs can vary by health plan. It's important to pick a plan that is right for you and your needs.
One of the key things that determines what health plans you are eligible for is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Qualifying for SSDI will give you access to more health care coverage options and support. But you need to apply first.
Social Security links and resources
Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) BEFORE turning 18
When you become an adult at age 18, the government uses different criteria to decide if you can get SSDI payments. Qualifying for SSDI payments will help to determine your health plan eligibility.
The SSDI application process can take up to 24 months, so you should allow for plenty of time. Contact Social Security to understand the eligibility and application process. Apply for benefits before turning 18. You can apply online or by contacting Social Security directly at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
Who can help me apply for SSDI?
Organizations that specialize in helping people apply for SSDI are called Social Security Advocacy organizations.
Apply for Medical Assistance (Medicaid) and Medicare
You will need to apply for Medical Assistance (MA) if:
- You don't have health care coverage under a parent, guardian or employer's health plan
- Your health coverage is ending
- You are choosing not to have coverage through your parent or guardian
If you have health care coverage under a parent or guardian’s health plan, there are advantages to also being on Medical Assistance. You can be on both at the same time. Medical Assistance may cover benefits and services not offered by your parent or guardian’s health plan.
If you haven’t already applied for Medical Assistance, now is a good time to apply. Reach out to your county to find out more about the Medical Assistance application process. Find out more.
What happens after I qualify for Medical Assistance?
The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) will send you a letter with a form that has your health plan options. You have two options:
- Select a health plan by filling out the form and returning it to DHS within 30 days. Find out more about choosing a plan.
- Do nothing and DHS will choose a health plan for you.