A look at Medicaid

December 23, 2019

Medicaid is essentially a state and federally funded program that is managed by both levels of the government. Eligibility for Medicaid is said to be both “categorical” and financial. In other words, eligibility first depends on a person being over age 65 or having a physical or mental disability that causes them to need care. Financial criteria based on both income and assets are then assessed.

What is “Countable”?

While the dollar amounts may vary somewhat, individuals typically may have no more than $2,000 of “countable” assets and a low maximum monthly income that varies depending on which state the individual resides. The asset test causes the most confusion; all assets are countable unless specifically exempt. This includes savings and all real estate, other than a personal residence.

The shocking news for many couples is that their joint resources are considered together in determining whether one spouse meets Medicaid’s resource limits. The excess above these limits must be spent down.

What’s the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

It’s common to be confused about the coverage provided by Medicare and Medicaid; however, there are important differences you must understand to be financially prepared.

Medicare Medicaid
National health insurance program for:

·      Seniors who are age 65 and older

·      Individuals 64 and younger who have a disability and qualify according to program parameters.

Is a government health insurance that helps low-income people pay their medical bills. Covers the medical cost for seniors age 65 and older or individuals who have a disability.
Covers a portion of acute and rehabilitative care. Primarily addresses issues related to chronic and long-term illnesses (only for those who qualify).


Since long-term care costs can be expensive and Medicaid requires individuals to be at poverty levels in order to qualify for assistance, many families are financially concerned about the prospect of long-term care for loved ones. One strategy that can help families minimize the financial risks of future health care expenses is long-term care insurance. The financial assistance coverage offers can help families with asset preservation and estate conservation, as well as fund a variety of care options.

Planning now can help you be prepared later. With the proper insurance coverage in place, you may be better positioned to avoid being “squeezed” between your limited Medicare and Medicaid options.


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