Medicare. Medicaid. Two words we’ll hear a lot as we age. Two words with different meanings. But many of us, unfortunately, have trouble understanding the difference.
In my Elder Law practice, I frequently run across people who think Medicare will “care” forever. Boy, are they in for a surprise.
One of those people, in fact, was my own mother, who, at the beginning of my law career, asked me why I was choosing Elder Law, because there couldn’t “be any kind of money to be made helping people with those issues.” She’s just about the brightest woman I know…but even she didn’t understand the difference. And even she, apparently, thought Medicare could take care of a senior indefinitely.
Not so! Medicare is meant for the over-65, disabled, or blind. Medicaid provides benefits for the poor. Medicare is public health insurance for those over 65. But many of those over 65 don’t realize that it doesn’t cover long-term care. It does pay for rehabilitation – but only up to 100 days. And if the patient isn’t responding well before then, they can kick you out – and into long-term care – before the hundred days!
Medicare only really works if you can get better. If you can’t – and, of course, people with diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s can’t – Medicare won’t provide nursing home coverage. You’d have to apply for Medicaid, or pay out of your own pocket. The rules for applying for Medicaid are complicated to begin with. But, since they vary from state to state, and, often, country to country…good luck understanding them!
At this point, it’s time to get an Elder Law attorney on your side. At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we know that the time to start planning for situations like this is before they happen. And we know that the only solution is to have an effective, comprehensive estate plan in place…not only a will, but also power of attorney, trusts (if necessary), surviving-spouse protection, asset protection, long-term care planning, and Medicaid and VA assistance.
I’ve been an Elder Law attorney for 33 years. And during that time, we’ve guided thousands of South Florida families through the Medicaid/Medicare/Elder Care maze. With professionalism. And with compassion.
Give us a call. We know the way.
Was Mom Right About Medicare? Maybe. Maybe Not.