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What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

When you or your loved one has gone to the nursing home for rehab, which frequently occurs after a three day hospital stay, the family has to learn the difference between Medicare and Medicaid!

Simply put, Medicare is a form of health insurance for those over age 65 and the disabled. Medicare pays for someone's doctors, hospital stay, medical supplies, etc.  No health insurance is long-term care insurance and Medicare is no exception. Medicare can pay for up to 100 days of rehabilitation in a skilled nursing facility after the patient had a three-day qualifying stay in the hospital. The point of the rehab is to get the patient stronger through therapy. When the patient is no longer getting stronger, Medicare will typically end.  Medicare completely covers days 1-20 while co-pays of $167.50 (2018) are for days 21-100. If the patient has a Medicare supplement (i.e., a Medigap policy), the policy may pay for the co-pays during the patient's stay.  Most people who work during their lifetimes will get Medicare.

If the elder has to stay in the nursing home after Medicare ends, the patient may need to apply for Medicaid.  Medicaid is the government program that helps the indigent pay for their care in a long-term care facility, such as the nursing home or assisted living facility.  In order to qualify for Medicaid, the applicant must pass a strict test looking at the applicant's income and assets.  We have the 2018 Medicaid income and asset numbers for Florida here. When the elder is in a nursing home, now may be the time to protect assets for his or her care, which is done through a good elder law attorney.

If your loved one just entered the nursing home, or may not be safe at home, you may also want to read:

Finally, we have a free book that may be be able to help. Please download Protect Your Nest Egg from a Florida Nursing Home today.

 

D. Rep DeLoach III
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Estate Planning and Board Certified Elder Law Attorney
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