The terms “Medicaid” and “Medicare” are tossed around a lot by the media—there is certainly no lack of political drama surrounding the topics. However, for as often as these programs make their way into the headlines, many citizens are still unclear about what these government-funded healthcare options actually are.

Medicare is a federal program tied to social security, designed to assist retired seniors with healthcare costs once they lose access to employer-provided health insurance. All Americans over the age of 65 are qualified for Medicare.

Medicaid, however, is a bit different. Medicaid uses a combination of federal and state funds to assist low-income families with medical costs. Medicaid requirements are strict, and on top of federal rules, each state has its own independent rules. In Ohio, to qualify for Medicaid—or, Medical Assistance, as it is called here—household income may not exceed 133% of the federal poverty level.

Medicaid covers a wide variety of healthcare services, including:

Hospital services (inpatient or outpatient)
Pregnancy care—before, during and after pregnancy
Physician services
Nurse practitioner services
Home healthcare
Family planning
Lab work and x-rays
Health clinics
Nursing facilites
Dental care

It depends on the state to determine whether such expenses as prescription drugs, vision care, and hospice care services are covered by Medicaid.

It goes without saying that not everyone will qualify for Medicaid. However, with a little planning, an elder law attorney may be able to help you meet Medicaid qualifications. Medicaid can help cover the cost of long-term nursing care, should you need it as you age—and long-term nursing care is a cost that can quickly drain the savings you’ve worked so hard to build over the course of your lifetime. Knowing that you qualify will also bring your family peace of mind, knowing that the financial burden of nursing care won’t fall on their shoulders.

Beyond helping you meet Medicaid qualifications, an elder law attorney can also help you apply for Medicaid. The insight of an experienced elder law attorney can make all the difference when it comes to Medicaid application. There are so many nuances, and one mistake can cost you approval…and a whole lot of money.

Like most things in life, if you need Medicaid now…it’s too late to start planning, but never too late to talk to an attorney. The best time to take action is when the need is on the horizon, but not imminent. Whether you’re not sure if it’s time to start planning for Medicaid or are feeling ready to apply for Medicaid, our Cleveland-based elder law firm is here to answer your questions. Request a free consultation and a member of our experienced team will contact you shortly!