The Difference between Medicaid and Medicare

Previously, I discussed the differences between Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) .  Two other government programs that frequently confuse people, including professionals, are the differences between Medicaid and Medicare.

Medicare

Medicare is a health insurance program for persons over the age of  65 and for those with certain disabilities who receive SSDI. A person must have entered the United States legally and have lived here for five years before becoming eligible for these benefits.

It is extremely important to understand that Medicare does not cover long-term nursing home care.

Medicaid

Medicaid is funded jointly by the federal and state governments.   Under certain circumstances, Medicaid will provide benefits for nursing home care.  In New York and a number of other states Medicaid will pay for home health care for those in need.

Medicaid is for those with low income and minimum resources.  Among those with low income who are eligible are:

  • pregnant women
  • children under 19 years of age
  • people 65 and older, blind or disabled
  • in need of nursing home care

A disabled person in New York would apply for Medicaid through the state agency.  Here in Nassau or Suffolk County, the application is available from the Department of Social Services.

It is a very complex and difficult application.  Many people retain the help of an elder care attorney to aid them in applying for Medicaid.  If you need assistance, please contact me by calling  (516) 223-4800 or by filling out the contact form on this website.

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