A common source of uncertainty for many in New York and elsewhere is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. Many individuals confuse the two, and still more wonder why Medicaid planning is even necessary, assuming without much forethought that they will be able to rely on the government program when the time comes. In fact, not only do the two programs differ greatly, but without adequate preparation, qualifying for Medicaid may come at a high cost.

Essentially, Medicare is a health insurance program through the federal government, while Medicaid is a medical assistance program jointly run by both state and federal governments. Medicare pays seniors’ – individuals over the age of 65 – medical bills from a fund into which those covered have paid during their working lives. Medicaid, on the other hand, is a needs-based program for low-income individuals.

Medicaid pays medical expenses from tax funds, including local, state and federal. Sometimes, the cost is fully covered; other times, co-pays are required. However, there are a number of regulations and eligibility requirements that must be met, and qualifying individuals must demonstrate their limited financial resources.

This is why Medicaid planning is so important. Without proper preparation, many people are forced to spend down a lifetime of savings and retirement preparation before they can qualify for assistance. In the end, they are left with next to nothing, and no inheritance — monetary or otherwise — of any kind to leave for loved ones or beneficiaries. However, with the help of an experienced Long Island, New York Medicaid planning attorney, there are a variety of methods individuals can employ that will allow them to qualify for assistance without quickly depleting their life savings and assets.

Source: agingcare.com, “The Difference Between Medicaid and Medicare”, Marlo Sollitto, Accessed on Jan. 26, 2018