Medicare and Medicaid are US Government programs designed to see to it that no one goes without basic health care, regardless of age or income. This article is to help seniors and their loved ones understand these programs and use them to supplement what care they've already arranged for themselves. For more information on Medicare coverage, visit Medicare Use frequently asked questions. Here are some top-selling Medicare and Medicaid guides. We'll also discuss a popular abuse of the Medicaid program to help you avoid those who propose you do this. If you're caring for a loved one, Medicare and Medicaid are part of a larger picture.
Much of the health care you receive as a senior was already paid for through the Medicare payroll tax you paid (2.5%) throughout your career (at least 40 quarters for full coverage). You need to reach a qualifying age (currently 65), have a permanent disability (doctor authenticated), or have End Stage Renal Disease to receive benefits. Once you qualify to use Medicare (part A) and pay a deductible, your required hospital in-patient care and much of the short-term skilled nursing care is covered.
This part of Medicare covers most physician services, outpatients hospital services, certain home health services and durable medical equipment. You pay a monthly premium of $ 78.00 and a $ 110.00 per year deductible. Many people buy an insurance called medi-gap to cover the co-payments and deductibles not covered by Medicare parts A and B.
If you have Medicare Parts A and B, you may be eligible for a drug discount card which can save you 15% or more on prescription drugs. If you already have prescription drug benefits under Medicaid, you're not eligible. If you have other prescription drug benefits it may not make sense to enroll in this program.
If you're over 65 and are eligible under the poverty criteria established in your home State, you may be eligible for Medicaid coverage of your medical, skilled nursing, assisted living and other expenses. See the Medicaid Use information page to find out the current eligibility criteria for your State. Since Medicaid is for poor people, they will want to know your net assets, including the value of your home, cars, bank accounts and anything else you have that's worth money. In California in 1998, for instance, the criteria went something like this: If you were a senior couple, one of whom required Medicaid assistance, the other one was allowed to have: 1 house, 1 car, $ 2,000 monthly income or investments that produced $ 2,000 monthly income. Once their assets were at that level, Medicaid (MediCal) would cover long term assisted care and medical care. If it was a single senior requiring full time assisted living, Medicaid would cover the medical and assisted living expenses once the assets (house, cars, accounts) were depleted. As you can see, this is a last resort situation for when you have no other means. If you're in this situation, your needs will be met, but not much else. There are long term care facilities that specialize in Medicaid care, charging nothing additional. While they provide for your needs, they are not real big on quality of life. If it's still early enough in your life, it's best to invest for a better quality of life in the end.
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