Medicare Coverage During Incarceration: Everything You Need to Know

Health insurance is an important thing for many Americans, regardless of whether or not they have a chronic disease or illness. However, just because popular healthcare options like Medicare are used by millions of citizens each year doesn’t mean that everyone fully understands the ins and outs of each program. 

That’s especially true when you are facing or about to face a new situation, such as being arrested or put in jail. Particularly at such a fraught emotional time, it can be hard to get your questions answered. At the same time, you must continue to have medical coverage while you’re in jail if you’ve already had coverage. Here’s everything you need to know about Medicare coverage during incarceration.

Why Would You Need Medical Coverage In Jail?

There are a variety of reasons that you might need medical insurance while you’re incarcerated, ranging from injuries you might sustain while in jail to mental health services as part of your sentence. For example, some inmates go through Substance Use Disorder Treatment so that they can return to society ready to face their addictions. Others are required to undergo Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as part of their sentence to address negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It’s also a sad fact that some inmates may become injured during their time in prison. From prison riots like a recent brawl in Yakima Country which left one inmate stabbed to other inmate-on-inmate attacks, there may come a time when you or your loved one sustains an injury in jail. In all of these situations, having medical insurance to help cover the costs of treatment while you aren’t employed can be important. 

Should You Keep Medicare While You’re Incarcerated?

When it comes to your Medicare eligibility while incarcerated, there are a variety of factors that may impact your coverage. For example, if you had Medicare before being arrested and put into jail or prison, your eligibility will remain in effect. However, if you become eligible for Medicare while in prison, you will have to wait until you are released to use Medicare. One thing to note is that Medicare will not pay for your medical services in jail as they will be covered by the prison itself, but it’s still worth it to keep paying for Medicare while in jail if you can afford it since it avoids any lapses once you’re released.

If you need to compare eligibility or prices for different Medicare programs, it’s easy to get quotes for Medicare online. Websites like Easy Medicare can help you explore different plans by zip code so that you know that the rates and information you are looking at are relevant to your locality. The only information that you’ll need to provide when speaking with an agent after filling out the online form is your date of birth, current doctors and prescriptions, and whether it’s important to you that you keep seeing your current physicians. 

As you can see, there are some times that an inmate may need medical coverage while in prison and some times that it comes down to preference or their status before being arrested. If you’re not completely sure what type of jail your friend or family member is in and you want to share this information with them, a simple prison inmate search can give you the information you need. From letting you know about inmates in federal or state penitentiaries to confirming that someone is still in jail, an online search is the easiest way to get the information you need quickly and correctly. Online databases like GoLookUp cross-reference a variety of public records to ensure that you get the information you need.