What is the Difference between Medicare and Medicaid

June 8th, 2015 by beasleyferber

Many people do not know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid, and confuse the services offered by these programs.

Medicare is the program of basic health insurance provided to Seniors. Medicare Part A covers inpatient care at a hospital, skilled nursing facility (but no more than 100 days, and often less), hospice,lab tests, surgery, doctor visits, and home health care. Medicare Part B covers including doctors’ services, outpatient care, durable medical equipment, home health care, and some preventive services. Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs. Neither Medicare Parts A or B cover long-term nursing home care, dental, eyeglasses, hearing aids, or podiatrists. Generally, there is no charge for Part A, and you are eligible at age 65 if you are eligible fore Social Security. For Part B, the charge is $104.90 per month, which is deducted from your Social Security benefits. There is no financial means test for Medicare, meaning you can get it regardless of your assets, income or financial status.

Medicare, by contrast, is a means-based program. Although there are numerous Medicaid programs covering all age brackets, most of our clients are interested in nursing home Medicaid. For this, the rules are different for married and single people. As to single people, you qualify if your assets are under $2,500 and if you need nursing home care. For married people, the rules are much more complex. Essentially, the spouse at home is able to keep he house, one car, and half of the other assets or $119,000, whichever is less. If you meet these standards, then, generally speaking, you would be eligible to have Medicaid pay for long-term nursing home care.

Of course, the rules are much more complex than this, but the important thing to know is that Medicare covers routine care and hospitalizations, and has nothing to do with your asserts, and Medicaid covers long term nursing home care.

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