Medicare is a federal program of health insurance for the aged and disabled. In general, in order to qualify for Medicare, the recipient must have worked for 40 quarters, earned a minimum specific amount during those quarters, http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/QC.html and paid a portion of earnings from that work into the Medicare program. Medicare has several parts. In general, Part A covers hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, nursing home care unless custodial care is the only care that you need, hospice, and home health care. In general, Part B covers medically necessary services such as doctor visits that are needed to diagnose or treat your medical condition. In general, Part D covers medications. Many restrictions and limitations apply. Medicare does not pay 100% of these costs, and for those who can afford it, a supplemental Medicare plan is essential. A Medicare supplement (Medigap) insurance plan, sold by private companies, can help pay some of the health care costs that original Medicare doesn’t cover, like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Medicare does not cover long term custodial care in a nursing home.
Medicaid on the other hand is a combined federal and state program of medical assistance for persons of all ages who do not have the income and resources to pay for health care. Not all persons with low incomes and resources are eligible for Medicaid. A person must be aged, blind, or disabled in order to qualify for Medicaid. Eligibility rules may vary from state to state.
Leslie Ruth’s many years of past experience as a practicing Social Security disability lawyer has given her a strong working knowledge of Medicare and Medicaid which adds helpful insight in the estate planning process.