The importance of Medicaid benefits

Medicaid benefits can be important for many families and older Americans. Medicaid is a federally mandated healthcare system for low-income Americans that is administered by the states. Medicaid is also funded by both the federal government and state governments. As of March 2018, greater than 67 million people were enrolled in Medicaid.

Medicaid covers basic health care costs such as doctor visits, hospital stays and nursing home care. The primary concern to qualify for Medicaid is income. Eligibility for Medicaid is based on income because the program is intended for low-income Americans of all ages to help with their medical needs. The modified adjusted gross income is used to determine eligibility for Medicaid. It is helpful for older Americans and their families interested in Medicaid eligibility requirements to be familiar with what is included in the modified adjusted gross income calculation.

Because Medicaid may be able to help with the cost of nursing home care, Medicaid planning is important for families and older Americans to take into account when estate planning. Medicaid is intended to cover basic healthcare needs including inpatient and outpatient hospital services; laboratory services; transportation to and from medical care; and some other key services recipients of Medicaid benefits may be in need of. Additional optional benefits may include prescription drug benefits, benefits for dental services, eyeglasses, prosthetics and physical therapy, among others.

It is important for families and older Americans to plan for nursing home care and the costs of nursing home care. Because Medicaid may be an option to help with both for those who are eligible, it is valuable to understand Medicaid benefits, how to qualify for them and how they fit into the estate planner's estate plan.

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