Medicaid Series Part 1: The Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid

Comparing apples to oranges is like comparing Medicare to Medicaid. While the first two are fruits, and the second two are government programs – there are major differences from fruit to fruit and from program to program. But what is the difference? I first explored this question when I decided to practice Elder Law. Most people recognize that these terms have to do with government benefits. But, it is getting harder and harder to dismiss the importance of such terms. As a child of an aging parent you have to become educated on the difference to help care for your parents. As an older adult you have to be concerned about how these programs might be relevant to your needs.

Medicare is the government insurance program that provides health insurance for persons that are 65 years or older, certain persons younger with disabilities, or to those with end stage renal disease. Medicaid is the program that helps people who are eligible due to limited income and resources (assets) pay for health care costs. The area of Elder Law focuses on advising people about eligibility for Medicaid and the related estate planning implications. Specifically, Medicaid benefits that pay for care at a skilled nursing facility or provide financial assistance with care needs for in-home care and assisted living care.

There are countless aspects to Medicaid benefits that will be explored in a series of articles like this one. We will start with the basics and then wind our way through the maze of Medicaid.

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