Frequently asked questions about Medicaid

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that provides medical assistance to low-income individuals, including those who are 65 or older, disabled or blind. It is the largest payer of nursing home bills in America, and offers people who have no other way to pay for long-term care another option.

What is the difference between Medicaid and Medicare?

Medicaid is a needs-based program that individual states operate in conjunction with the federal government. Different states have different programs, but all programs have income and asset limits that must be met and maintained to receive program benefits.

Medicare, on the other hand, provides health insurance for the elderly and individuals determined to be disabled. Unlike Medicaid, Medicare is a social insurance program, not a means tested program. It generally consists of two components. Part A provides inpatient hospital coverage, skilled nursing home care, and home healthcare. Part B provides physicians’ services, outpatient hospital care, physical therapy, medical equipment, and prosthetic devices. Part B is voluntary, and a small monthly premium must be paid to maintain enrollment.

Am I eligible for Medicaid assistance?

This depends on a number of factors, including age (you must be at least 65), the amount of assets you own and many more. A qualified elder law attorney can quickly determine whether you are eligible for benefits, or use a variety of estate planning tools to allow you to receive benefits without spending down all of your assets.

What if someone at a nursing home told me I have too many assets to qualify for Medicaid assistance?

You should know that the information provided by nursing home intake staff, social workers, Medicaid workers, and other well-meaning professionals is often incorrect. While their intentions are good, and they may care deeply about trying to help you, they simply do not know the subtle nuances and ever-changing laws surrounding Medicaid eligibility. A qualified elder law attorney, such as Anthony Kirkland, can show you ways to obtain Medicaid assistance while protecting your life savings.

What if I’m already in a nursing home?

Even if you are already in a nursing home, it is still possible to receive assistance from Medicaid to help defray the costs. We can determine if you are indeed eligible for benefits and help you get them.

What if I have already been denied benefits?

If you have already applied for Medicaid benefits and been denied, we may be able to help you win an appeal. Please contact our office as soon as possible.

How do I apply for Medicaid?

The greatest advice we can give you about applying for Medicaid is this: Unless you are absolutely certain you qualify, do not file on your own. Why? Once you apply, the flexibility to best protect your assets may be gone. If your level of wealth shows that you have more than the allowable amount, you will be required to spend-down your assets. Also, the Medicaid application process requires accurately filling out lots of paperwork and answering some very confusing questions. Contacting an elder law attorney before you file can maximize your chances for obtaining benefits.

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