Medicare Vs. Medicaid

The words may sound similar…but the meanings are very different.

Medicare is a public health insurance program for people 65 and older, and it takes the place of the private coverage you’ve had previously. However, Medicare does not pay for long-term care – and, unfortunately, many seniors are not aware of this. And a lot of bad decisions are made based upon this ignorance.

Unless you’re an Elder Law attorney, the regulations regarding Medicare (and especially Medicaid) can definitely seem like “all Greek” to you! Adding to the confusion is the fact that Medicare does pay for rehabilitation – up to a hundred days of it, anyway. However, if you don’t show signs of improvement during that hundred days, Medicare will determine that you need long-term care. And your funding will stop.

Then there’s the small print; you’ll pay a deductible of about $120 per day.

Medicare coverage, really, is based on the probability of rehabilitation. Of course, diseases such as Alzheimer’s have no possibility of rehabilitation at this time. So, if you’re diagnosed with it, Medicare assistance will come to an abrupt halt.

Medicaid, on the other hand, is funded by both federal and state governments, but administered by the latter. As a result, eligibility rules can vary dramatically among states.

Medicaid is designed to pay for long term nursing-home care, and, occasionally, home-care. Because of the onerous application process, though, if you’re diagnosed with diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, your family might have to pay until coverage kicks in.

Here are the main points of each program…


  •  Health insurance if you’re 65 or older
  • Federal program, standard requirements
  • Pays maximum of 100 days nursing-home care
  • Pays for primary hospital care, medically-necessary services
  • You  must have contributed to the Medicare system to be eligible


  •  Needs-based program
  • Administered by states; widely-varying eligibility requirements
  • Covers long-term care
  • Covers medications
  • Strict income and asset requirements; must be 65 or over, disabled, or blind

As in pretty much everything else related to Elder Law, the devil’s in the details. And what you don’t know can cost you every cent you’ve got.

But we can help.

At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we’re Elder Law attorneys…and we’ve been helping South Florida families deal with the Medicare/Medicaid maze for 33 years. We’ve guided thousands of them through it successfully…in addition to providing comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, long-term-care plans, asset protection programs, and assistance with the VA.

We’re just a phone call away.

Medicaid Vs. Medicare

Posted in aging, Alice Reiter Feld, Alice Reiter Feld Florida Elder Law Monday Memos, broward, elder law, elder law attorney, elder lw, elderly, long term care planning, long-term care, medicaid, medicare, Nursing Homes, resources, senior care, support

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