The Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid: About Medicaid
By Rick Law, Elder Law Attorney and Founding Partner at Law Elder Law in Western Chicagoland. Every senior should have a working understanding of the differences between Medicare and Medicaid. Unfortunately, many seniors believe the myth that Medicare will cover their long-term care costs. It will not. Medicare cares about your medical expenses if you are getting better – and only up to 100 days. Medicaid, on the other hand, is a medical assistance program that helps many people who cannot afford medical care. Medicaid cares about your medical expenses only if you are poor. Medicaid is a needs-based program. Medicaid is administered by each state in conjunction with the federal government. It is a combination of both state and federal tax money. Most states have long-term care Medicaid programs that include both community care programs and nursing home Medicaid (long-term Medicaid). Illinois is unusual in that care in assisted living facilities (those legally termed Supportive Living Facilities, or SLF) may be covered by Medicaid. The community care services program is a Medicaid waiver program that provides community-based social, health, and supportive services as an alternative to institutional placement in a nursing facility. The maximum number of hours available per month is 115 hours, but that usually includes coverage of an elder day program. Another myth that causes problems for seniors is believing that they can qualify for nursing home Medicaid even though they have followed the IRS rules that allow them to give away up to a certain amount per year. Unfortunately, nursing home Medicaid does not usually allow for gifting of any kind. Medicaid rules are not the same as the Internal Revenue Services rules! Medicaid has a “lookback” period of five years. If there is gifting during that period of time, individuals can be penalized for the non-payment of nursing home services. The state wields a big club in this area. Elder law estate planning attorneys can help you with the ins and outs of both Medicare and Medicaid. When a senior needs nursing home services, it is wise to review the situation with an elder care attorney. If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 630-585-5200 or 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free. We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family. Call now. Sincerely, Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future. Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.