Emergency Medicaid is a program for Coloradans who are not eligible for regular Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program) benefits, to have emergency health care expenses covered.

Emergency Medicaid is a program run by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) that pays for emergency health care services for eligible, uninsured non-citizens.

People whose immigration status makes them ineligible for Health First Colorado may be eligible for Emergency Medicaid. This could be Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, adults with Legal Permanent Residence (‘Green Card’ holders) who have had that status for less than five years, and people without immigration documentation. For a complete list of eligibility by immigration status, see CKF’s Immigration Status and Eligibility for Health Coverage Programs.

Emergency Medicaid only covers emergency services, not ongoing healthcare. This could be emergency care for a “life or limb-threatening emergency” in the past three months, labor and delivery (does not cover prenatal or post-natal services), and dialysis for end-stage renal disease.

Update: Beginning August 8, 2021, applicants are not required to submit a physician statement or form attesting that they received treatment for a medical emergency. Instead, physicians will designate the treatment as emergency care when they bill for the services.

What to tell your clients about Emergency Medicaid

  • Emergency Medicaid only pays for emergency health care services, not routine health care services. It pays for emergency care from the past three months.
  • Under Federal law, all hospitals are required to provide emergency services regardless of a person’s immigration status.
  • You can apply for Emergency Medicaid at the hospital while receiving treatment, or via typical methods (paper application, online via PEAK, over the phone, and in person).
  • The use of Emergency Medicaid is not subject to the public charge test.
  • Information clients share on an application is confidential and cannot be shared with any Federal agency, including U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Tips for Assisters

  • Some Assisters recommend applying using the paper application and writing “Emergency Medicaid” on the application or adding a sticky note that says “Emergency Medicaid. This helps county eligibility technicians identify it as an application for Emergency Medicaid.
  • For a paper application, make sure to complete the Non-Citizen Details section and that your client has medical bills from the past three months for retroactive coverage.
  • At this time, only people without document have a clear pathway to apply for Emergency Medicaid via PEAK. Some assisters recommend that people with other statuses apply using the paper application.
  • You can help clients apply for retroactive coverage for emergency care received in the previous three months. You can also help clients apply for prospective coverage for labor and delivery, and for dialysis for end-stage renal disease.

More information is available in CKF’s Job Aid: Emergency Medicaid Overview, on HCPF’s Emergency Medicaid webpage (Spanish version) and HCPF’s Operational Memo 21-056, Emergency Medicaid.

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