While the terms “Medicare” and “Medicaid” sound similar, it is important to understand that these government programs are very different in both purpose and coverage.
First, eligibility for Medicare, unlike Medicaid, is not based on the individual’s finances. To be eligible for Medicaid, however, assets and income are relevant considerations. In Indiana, a single individual must have less than $1,500.00 in countable assets or $2,250.00 for a married couple. These figures do not include the following assets: 1) A home of any value if used as a personal residence; 2) Income producing property so long as fair market value rent is paid; 3) One vehicle of any value if used for transportation for health care or employment; 4) Proper irrevocable prepaid funeral arrangements; and 5) Household goods and furnishings. If a person is eligible for Medicaid, the program is extensive, paying for almost all medical services and long-term nursing home care.
Medicare, however, covers more people than Medicaid. Medicare covers 1) Anyone over 65 that has paid into Social Security; 2)Persons on Social Security Disability Insurance for 24 months; 3) Organ transplant recipients; 4) Dialysis patients; 5) Individuals with certain diseases such as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Medicaid, on the other hand, covers individual who are aged, blind and disabled for purposes of long term care eligibility.
In addition, for the purposes of nursing home care, Medicare will only cover nursing home care for up to 100 days, and this is only in limited circumstances. Medicaid, however, if requirements are meant, can cover long term care in a nursing home.
In planning for long term care, it is important to know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid and a qualified attorney at Gordon A. Etzler and Associates, LLP can help!