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Medicare vs. Medicaid – What’s the Difference?

A portrait of medical insurance with glasses.While looking for assisted living accommodations for your parents, you may find that some agencies or homes accept either Medicare or Medicaid or neither.

Here is a handy guide to help you navigate the waters of health insurance for the elderly and make sure that you are utilizing your resources to the fullest.

This can be a very confusing time, so feel free to call Alvita Care and let the experts help you navigate your aging parents’ Medicare and Medicaid options.

Medicare is a government-run social insurance program that grants access to health insurance for Americans ages 65 years and older as well as to younger people with disabilities. Because it is a social insurance program, enrollees pay into the program, benefiting from its health coverage. The benefits guidelines cover hospital care, outpatient services, private health coverage, and prescriptions. Part A Medicare covers elderly parents’ hospitalization needs, and part B Medicare covers outpatient care for the elderly. Medicare can be combined with other supplemental insurance forms, such as AARP. Many elderly people choose to have supplemental insurance because Medicate typically only covers 80% of the cost of healthcare. The supplemental insurance carrier can pick up the remaining 20% of your aging parent’s health care costs.

Medicaid is a government health program designed for certain people and families with low incomes and resources. This program is funded by both the state and federal governments but is managed by local states. In order to be a recipient of Medicaid, you must be a United States citizen or a legal permanent resident. The program is targeted at health care services for people with limited incomes in the United States. Medicaid eligibility categories include assets, age, pregnancy, disability, blindness, income and resources, and citizenship. Many elderly people go onto Medicaid with the help of an eldercare attorney. With the life expectancy increasing, most older adults do not have the means to stay on Medicare alone.

The differences are that Medicare is predominately available based on the age of the recipient, while Medicaid is based on need and the ability to pay for medical services. Medicare is an insurance program into which enrollees pay, while Medicaid is a social welfare program. In order to qualify for Medicaid, limited income and financial resources are key factors, while Medicare is determined solely on age and necessity. Medicaid also tends to cover more than Medicare does due to the larger population of people it tends to serve. Most nursing home care facilities do have a certain number of beds assigned to Medicaid residents.

It is important to check with the home care agency you are investigating to see if they take your insurance or government health policy. In order to take care of your aging parents, you want to get the biggest bang out for your buck, so finding a location or service that allows you to utilize the resources available to you and your elderly parents is an important way to save you and your parent’s money.

If you think that you are eligible for either one of these two government assistance programs, check out their websites for more information. It is possible that you or your aging loved ones may be eligible for both.