You may think that if you need long-term nursing care, Medicare is going to cover it. Surprise! That’s not how it works. Although Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, it is actually Medicaid that picks up the tab for long-term care. Medicaid is a federal health insurance program for low-income people, and there are certain criteria you must meet in order to qualify for Medicaid such as your finances. Sometimes, though, seniors are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. So, whether you’re looking to move into a nursing home or would prefer to age at home, Medicaid is likely the best option for getting your long-term care covered. Here are some basic things to know about long-term care and Medicaid.
Things You Should Know about Long-Term Care and Medicaid
Long-term care and Medicare
Although you would think Medicare covers everything when it comes to long-term care, it actually only covers up to 100 days of skilled nursing care. In order to qualify for Medicare coverage of long-term care, you have to enter a skilled nursing facility that is approved by Medicare or enter a nursing home within 30 days of a hospital stay that lasted at least three days. There are plenty of other myths out there about Medicaid and Medicare, so it’s important to read up on the facts. Since Medicare coverage on long-term care is so limited, make sure you look into long-term care and Medicaid.
Medicaid covers long-term care for at least 2 million older adults. It will cover at-home services like personal care and case management, but in order to qualify for Medicaid, you have to meet certain criteria. The eligibility for long-term care and Medicaid can vary from state to state. In general, to determine if one is eligible for Medicaid, government officials will look at things like the person’s total assets and each state has its own dollar amount set to the financial eligibility for Medicaid. Make sure you look into the rules where you live. It might also help to find an elder law lawyer who can help you make well-informed decisions about long-term care and Medicaid. You should also contact your state’s Medicaid office for more information on eligibility criteria.
Long-term care coverage and health care reform
Some are saying that Medicare and Medicaid coverage could drastically change in the U.S. soon. I’m sure you’ve heard by now about a new health care law being proposed called the American Health Care Act. Right now, experts are predicting that if that law gets approved, there will be severe funding cuts to the Medicaid program. What might happen is that federal contribution to Medicaid would be cut by $839 billion over the next decade. The federal government would be limited in how much funding they can put into the program, which means that the states will be left to try and financially support their Medicaid programs. Cuts to Medicaid could severely impact the potential for seniors to age at home through long-term care and Medicaid coverage. Since health care reform is looming, it’s important to consider the do’s and don’ts of Medicare and Medicaid.