How to Apply for the IowaCare Health Program

••• Christine Cameron

The state of Iowa has developed the IowaCare health program to assist low income families and individuals with the rising costs of health care. The program is a state sponsored medical insurance program that is paid based on the recipient’s income. Participants in the IowaCare program are able to seek limited medical treatment with little or no out of pocket expense.

Call the Iowa Department of Human Services at (515)283-9238 to have an IowaCare application mailed to you. Provide a current mailing address to ensure prompt delivery. Expect to wait up to three weeks for the application to arrive. Download an application online at the site listed in Resources for faster service.

Gather financial and income information for each member of the household applying for the IowaCare program. Fill out all medical and income forms in detail. Order copies of medical records from previous doctors.

Receive an IowaCare card in the mail in two to three weeks. The card is not plastic; it comes first class mail from the Iowa Department of Human Services. Remove the card by cutting carefully and place it in a safe place.

Use the IowaCare health card at University of Iowa Hospital and clinics and Broadlawns Hospital and clinics in Polk County. The administrative clerks check the card and the recipient’s status before every appointment, so show up at least fifteen minutes early.

Provide legal documentation and immigration paperwork for all household members applying for coverage in the health care program. Iowa does not check the immigration status of any household members not applying for the IowaCare program.

File for an appeal if you feel you have been misrepresented or incorrectly excluded from the IowaCare program. Fill out the appeal online or go directly to the Department of Human Services office for assistance. Represent yourself in a hearing or have someone else speak on your behalf. You will be required to pay any legal fees incurred regardless of the outcome of the appeal hearing.


  • Download the application in English or Spanish. Services included in the IowaCare Medicaid program are doctor and advanced registered nurse practitioner services, limited dental services, limited prescription drug benefits and transportation. Services are only offered at University of Iowa Hospital and clinics and Broadlawns Medical Center in Polk County. All Iowa families can apply for the IowaCare program, premiums are based on family income versus the Federal Poverty Level.


  • Never enter fraudulent information on government paperwork. Severe penalties including jail sentences are enacted upon those who abuse the IowaCare health program. Pay the monthly premium on time or claim the hardship credit or benefits will end at the end of the month.