Medicaid for Emergencies

Medicaid-Emergency Services Only (MA-ESO) is for people whose immigration status disqualifies them for full Medicaid. It covers emergency room visits and services for truly life-threatening emergencies. MA-ESO does not cover follow-up visits or services.  

Who is eligible for Medicaid-ESO?

  • People without eligible immigration status
  • People who are traveling on a visitor visa (B-1)
  • People who have a work visa or employment authorization document 
  • People who hold Permanent Resident Green Cards and have been in the U.S. for less than 5 years

In order to qualify, you must meet the Medicaid income guideline for your age group: 

  • Adults ages 19-64 who have not been determined disabled (Healthy Michigan Plan)
  • Children (ages 0-19) (Healthy Kids or MIChild)
  • Pregnant people (MOMS Medicaid)
  • People of child-bearing age (Plan First)
  • Seniors (age 65+) and people determined disabled (ADD Care)

What services does Medicaid-ESO cover?

Medicaid-ESO covers only the services provided during your emergency room (ER) visit. 

Medicaid-ESO also covers dialysis. Your doctor and dialysis provider will coordinate your care.

If you are enrolled in Medicaid-ESO and become pregnant, your Medicaid-ESO becomes MOMS Medicaid.

How much does Medicaid-ESO cost?

Medicaid-ESO is free.

As Medicaid-ESO is not full Medicaid, you may be eligible for tax credits and health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you have any questions, please contact us.


How do I get Medicaid-ESO?

The first step is to apply for Medicaid. (If you are approved, you should then enroll in Medicaid.)

You can begin the process at any time during the year. You can also request retroactive coverage for up to 3 months prior to your emergency room visit. For example, If you go to the emergency room in April, you can apply for Medicaid in July and request Medicaid coverage for April. 

You must meet income eligibility requirements for any month you are requesting coverage.

Apply for Medicaid online through MIBridges, complete a paper application, or call to apply over the phone at 855-789-5610.

The Washtenaw Health Project can help with your application. Make an appointment by calling 734-544-3030 or emailing us at

Within 45 days you should hear from MDHHS (the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services) about whether you’re approved. If you haven’t heard back after that, we can check your application’s status. You can also visit your local MDHHS office or check in your MIBridges account.

If your immigration status changes and you are now eligible for full Medicaid (for example, if you have been granted refugee/asylee status or become a US citizen), contact MDHHS and provide proof of your new immigration status. Your MA-ESO will change to full Medicaid.

Do I have to renew Medicaid-ESO?

Yes, Medicaid is renewed every 12 months. For example, if you were approved in March, you will receive a renewal packet the following March.

MDHHS mails a Medicaid Redetermination (sometimes called a renewal form) or sends a MIBridges notification by text message. The form will ask for proof of your income and confirm that your household members have stayed the same. For most types of Medicaid, only proof of income is required.

MDHHS automatically renews benefits for people whose eligibility can be verified. If you are automatically renewed, you’ll get a confirmation letter.

Washtenaw Health Project can help you with Medicaid!

Call Us

Tel. 734-544-3030
Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(Closed for lunch 12–1 p.m.)

Visit Us

555 Towner Street, Ypsilanti MI 48198
Our friendly staff is here to help you Monday–Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(Closed for lunch 12–1 p.m.)
Here's what to expect.

Email Us

Send your questions to