Bloomsburg Medicare and Medicaid Lawyers
Safeguarding Your Future with Medicare and Medicaid Planning
Understanding the differences between Medicaid and Medicare can be difficult, especially if you’ve never had to apply for either. However, for many older individuals, learning about these two essential government programs will be necessary. If you’ve ever wondered about the differences between Medicaid and Medicare, or you feel it’s time to start planning for your future, take a look at the information below.
Medicare vs. Medicaid
Medicare is a health insurance program that is regulated by the state, but unlike most private insurance policies, the Medicare program offers more affordable premiums and lower deductibles. This allows elderly individuals to reduce their medical expenses, and makes coverage more accessible to those on a limited budget. Medicare policies are not free, but they are open to disabled individuals and those over the age of 65. Enrollees do not need to meet any income requirements, but they will be required to cover any necessary copays, deductibles, and premium costs.
Unlike Medicare, Medicaid does have stringent income requirements, and if your income is too high, you will not be eligible. The program is designed to provide medical assistance to the following groups:
- On a limited income
- 65 or older
Since each state has its own unique set of Medicaid laws, it is important to understand the laws in the state you reside in. The program is only partially regulated by the federal government, so you will need to check with the government of your state if you need extensive information.
Hiring Legal Assistance
Hiring an attorney to help with your Medicaid and/or Medicare applications can be a wise decision. Both programs are complex, and vary from state to state. Also, if you fail to fill out your application correctly, you could be charged with Medicare fraud, which is a very serious crime. The best way to start planning for the future is to start thinking about potential medical expenses—for example, nursing home costs. This is extremely important, especially considering that Medicare will not cover long-term nursing home care completely.
Valuing Your Financial Assets
If you believe that you will need Medicaid to cover your future medical expenses, you need to be sure that you meet the income requirements. If you do not initially meet the eligibility requirements, you may still be able to qualify by "spending down." When an individual decides to "spend down," he or she must spend less and lower the value of their financial assets. Be warned: transferring your assets to avoid having them counted can lead to costly penalties.
When determining the value of your assets, the government will take the following into consideration:
- Bank accounts
- Life insurance policies
- IRAs and 401(k)s
- Other investments
It is important to know that the government does not factor the value of your home or vehicle into its decision.
Speak to an Elder Care Attorney
If you have multiple investments, saving accounts, or annuities, an attorney may be able to help you "spend down" and avoid any unwanted penalties when applying for Medicaid. Here at Kreisher Marshall & Associates, LLC, our elder law attorneys help people in the surrounding counties of Bloomsburg understand the complex laws associated with Medicare and Medicaid. Contact us at (570) 784-5211 to learn more.