Medicaid is a health insurance program provided by the government. It
is available to those who are low-income, regardless of age.
What does Medicaid cover?
The services that Medicaid covers vary from state to state. At a minimum,
Medicaid covers the same services as Medicare. Some state Medicaid
programs offer additional health benefits.
The following Medicaid benefits are provided in all
- Inpatient hospital services
- Outpatient hospital services
- Medical and surgical dental services
- Nursing home care
- Home care services
- Laboratory and x-ray services
- Rural health clinic services
- Transportation to medical treatments
- Medicare monthly premiums, deductibles and coinsurance amounts (for
those that also have Medicare)
The following additional Medicaid services are
covered in some states:
- Prescription medications
- Eye exams and glasses
- Hearing aids
- Dental services and dentures
- Prosthetic devices
Who is eligible for Medicaid?
Medicaid is for people who are low-income; therefore, in order to qualify
you need to demonstrate that your love one is below certain income and
asset amounts. These amounts vary from state to state, but are
- A monthly income limited to approximately $300 to $500.
- Total assets (less a primary residence, one car and personal
possessions) limited to approximately $2000.
- Citizenship requirements: A person who is a "legal
immigrant" can qualify for Medicaid if he meets certain
guidelines (contact his local Department of Social Services).
Get specific information about your state
To learn about the specific eligibility criteria and benefits in your
elder's state, contact Department of Social and Health Services or Social
Welfare Department in your area.
Applying for Medicaid
If you think your love one would qualify for and benefit from Medicaid,
contact a local Department of Social and Health Services to learn where to
apply in his state. Applying for Medicaid usually involves significant
paperwork and multiple appointments with eligibility staff. Your love
one’s financial status will be reviewed and your love one (or you) may
You can assist your elder by gathering any financial records and
preparing Medicaid forms before appointments. Consider consulting an elder
law attorney or a financial planner that specializes in your love one
Why would an elderly
with Medicare need Medicaid?
Since Medicare only covers up to 80 percent of some medical services,
Medicaid can be used to pay for the remaining 20 percent. Also, Medicaid
will pay for nursing home costs while Medicare will not. Unless your elder
has long term care insurance, nursing home costs are paid out-of-pocket.
Another bonus is that on Medicaid, elders are no longer required to pay
Medicare premiums and deductibles.
Do providers and facilities that get paid by
Medicaid offer lower quality services?
Be aware that the bulk of nursing home costs are paid for by the Medicaid
program. A patient in a nursing home, who exhausts his/her assets to pay the
nursing home bill, will eventually qualify for Medicaid and legally cannot
be discharged from the home. The change in his/her source of payment should
not result in a change of care quality.