Medicare and Medicaid are very similar programs, and the differences between the two aren’t always very clear. An effective approach in distinguishing between the programs is understanding how both are funded, what they cover and whom they cover. Let’s take an in-depth look to consider how each is handled in our society today.
Medicare is a federal government-sponsored health care program with the intent of helping seniors get affordable healthcare. Individuals can invest in a Medicare trust fund that will ultimately pay for their health care after the age of 65. Like a traditional insurance program, recipients may have to pay a low deductible or a monthly insurance premium for non-hospital coverage. If for some reason the individual can’t afford health care through Medicare, they may qualify for Medicaid. It may surprise you that Medicare takes up nearly 13 percent of the federal government’s budget.
In contrast, Medicaid is an assistance program for people with financial hardships. It’s not restricted by age, and is meant strictly for people with little to no monthly income. The funding for Medicaid comes from a combination of federal and state funding, and is distributed depending upon the wealth of the state. In most states, the beneficiary must have less than $1,000 in liquid assets for them to qualify. Compared to Medicare’s 13 percent, Medicaid takes up 7 percent of the federal budget and about 16 percent in most states.
Medicare is divided into four parts, three of which are the most common. Medicare Part A is the hospital insurance and will cover transport, hospital stays, emergency services and surgery. Part B pays for doctor visits, medical supplies and outpatient hospital visits. Part D is the prescription drug coverage component. Participation in Part D is voluntary and will require a monthly premium. If you or your loved one does not want to participate in Part D you must opt out.
Medicaid typically covers a wider range of medical services than Medicare. Medicaid covers hospitalization, x-rays, laboratory services, obstetrics, pediatric care, family planning and skilled nursing facility care for those 21 years and up. The range of care under Medicaid is larger because the people under this plan are of all ages and may need a different variety of care based upon their stage of life.
What This Means To You
Senior Care Centers accepts both Medicare and Medicaid. Medicaid currently helps 60 percent of all nursing residents afford to stay in the assisted living they need. The majority of residents have Medicare, Medicaid or both. Knowing the differences between the two programs and what you or your loved one qualifies for may allow you to come to a place of better care. If you’re unsure you or your loved one qualifies for government assistance for long-term nursing care, Senior Care Centers would be happy to help answer your questions.
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