Long Island Attorneys Discuss Medicare & Medicaid for Estate Planning
When undergoing estate planning, the topic of medical care comes up. Most consumers do not know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid, however. It does not help that some professionals and websites use the terms interchangeably. While they sound similar, these are two very different government programs.
Medicare is for the elderly, while Medicaid is for those in poverty. The differences extend well beyond this, though – especially in terms of who can enroll, who runs the programs, how the programs work, how they are funded, and the benefits given to those enrolled.
Who Receives Medicare and Who Can Receive Medicaid?
Older individuals receive Medicare, while low-income families receive Medicaid. If a person is older and lower income, he or she may receive benefits from both.
A person is only eligible to receive Medicare if he or she is a minimum of 65 years or older, and has paid payroll taxes specifically for Medicare for a period of 10 years or more. His or her income does not matter. If he or she paid the payroll taxes and is over the age limit, that individual can qualify for Medicare. A person is only eligible for Medicaid when his or her income or financial status dips below a specified income limit.
There are exceptions for both plans. For example, people can qualify for Medicare when they are disabled, even if they are younger than 65 years. When individuals are older than 65, but never paid payroll taxes, they could still qualify for Medicare, but their premiums are higher than those of people who did pay taxes during their younger years.
Being low income is not enough to qualify for Medicaid in all situations. Sometimes, a person who is pregnant, a child, or a disabled individual may qualify for Medicaid; but, his or her income must be less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which changes annually.
Who Runs the Medicare Program?
The federal government runs the Medicare program. That is why the rules and benefits are uniform for Medicare across all states, since the federal government creates these rules.
Medicaid, on the other hand, is a state-run program. Each state has its own rules for how it allows individuals to qualify, what benefits are to be received, and more. While the Medicaid program is state-run, that state must meet the minimum standards set by the federal government to receive funding for its programs.
Insurance Versus Social Welfare
Most importantly, Medicare is an insurance program, which is why it is critical for an elderly person to include it in his or her estate plan. Medicaid, on the other hand, is considered a social welfare program.
Speak with an Elder Law Attorney to Plan for Medicare
What many do not realize is that their estate plan could disqualify them from government benefits. If you are planning your future or the future of a disabled child, you must know the difference between these government plans to ensure that your plan does not eliminate one’s abilities to qualify for aid.