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  • Writer's pictureRuth-Ann E. Toups

What is the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid?

Updated: Apr 11, 2019

Have you ever been confused about the difference between Medicare and Medicaid? It can be difficult to navigate the many different programs out there. Medicare provides acute care benefits for individuals over the age of 65 with a few exceptions for some individuals younger than 65. Medicaid provides chronic care for individuals who have both a medical and financial need. The Medicaid program is vast and provides many benefits to many other groups of people as well. In this blog we are just discuss the benefit known as Medicaid for the Elderly and People with Disabilities (MEPD).

Medicare helps provide coverage for acute care. Acute care is designed to respond to a particular health crisis on a temporary basis. For example, if a loved one falls and breaks a hip, acute care would be the immediate care they would receive after their fall (such as a hospital visit, a surgery, and a hospital stay). This type of care is not designed to support an individual on a long-term basis. Accordingly, Medicare does not cover assisted living or nursing home care on a long-term basis. This may come as a shock to many families whose loved one can no longer live at home safely but do not have a plan for financing long-term care.

Medicaid helps provide coverage for chronic care. Chronic care is designed to assist someone long-term on a day to day basis with their activities of daily living. When an individual meets both medical and financial requirements, Medicaid can help pay for nursing home care. The financial requirements for Medicaid depend on a number of factors, including the state you live in and whether you are married. Although an individual is generally only eligible if they have very few resources there are many important exceptions and exemptions to consider. Prior to making any financial changes or applying for Medicaid speak with a knowledgeable professional.

Since Medicare and Medicaid pay for different types of care, they are best used together to provide the most complete care. When seeking the best care for a loved one, utilize all of the benefits and resources available.

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