The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) provides free or low-cost health care to low-income residents of the state. This health program represents the state's Medicaid program, funded by state and federal money. Each April 1, the state adjusts the income eligibility levels for AHCCCS, which vary according to several factors.
AHCCCS offers health insurance for families with children who are under 19 years old and who meet income and eligibility requirements. For those who qualify, there are no monthly premiums. Applicants must be Arizona residents as well as U.S. citizens or qualified immigrants. In addition, applicants who qualify for unemployment or Social Security benefits must apply for them.
Income Limits by Family Size
In 2011, for a family of five, the monthly income limit is $2,150, before taxes. For a family of four, the limit is $1,838. For a family of three, the limit is $1,526. For a family of two, the limit is $1,215. For a family of one, the limit is $903. For larger families, the income limit is $2,150 for the first five members and $311 for each additional member.
Unearned and In-Kind Income
The program counts unearned as well as earned income. Unearned income includes benefits such as unemployment, Social Security disability, Supplemental Security Income, pensions and all other kinds of income that do not come directly from wages. The AHCCCS also counts in-kind payments when figuring income. In-kind payments include food, shelter and other items that can be converted to cash.
The program has various rules about counting income from children, depending on their age, marital status, living arrangements, and status as a dependent of an eligible adult. The easiest method to calculate the income guidelines for household members is to use the matrices included in the AHCCCS Eligibility Policy Manual, available online.
A low-premium health insurance program known as KidsCare is available to families who exceed the income limits. Some children qualify for AHCCCS insurance if they are under the age of 21 and, as of their 18th birthday, were in the state’s foster care program.