Four Medicare and Medicaid Myths

At Elder Advisors Law, we are committed not only to helping our clients with estate planning and asset protection, but also with educating the public about these subjects. Over the years, we’ve learned just how many misconceptions people have about managing their money as they age, especially when it comes to Medicare and Medicaid. That’s why in today’s blog post we’re busting some of the most common myths people believe about these programs. Let’s set the record straight!

But before we get there, you first need to understand the difference between Medicare and Medicaid.  These are two separate government programs for the benefit of people with needs.  Think of Medicare as health insurance for the blind, elderly and disabled.  Just like health insurance, Medicare can help pay for your doctor visits, hospital stays, medications, procedures and surgeries.  Medicare will only pay a stay in a long-term care facility (like a nursing home or assisted living facility) for rehabilitation purposes and only for short-term stays. If you need to stay in a long-term care facility for an indefinite period and can’t afford to privately pay, that is when Medicaid can help to cover the cost.

  1. Medicare coverage kicks in automatically when you turn 65.

Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy and sometimes requires some work. Not everyone is enrolled without taking action. If you don’t receive a Medicare card within three months of your 65th birthday, you’ll need to actually sign up for a Medicare health insurance plan. But don’t wait the full three months to get started. Your initial enrollment period lasts six months — three months before your 65th birthday and three months after. You might have higher premiums if you enroll outside of this enrollment period.

  1. Medicare is free and will pay for all of your healthcare needs.

Medicare will cover many of your health-related needs, but some things may not be covered. Medicare will only pay for a small fraction of your nursing home costs. It is also likely that you will need to make co-pays and pay monthly premiums. 

  1. You can only qualify for Medicaid if you are deeply impoverished.

While there is a limit on the countable assets you can have if you want to qualify for Medicaid, many assets are exempt and not considered countable. If you plan in advance, you can strategically protect your assets and preserve them for loved ones while still qualifying for Medicaid.

  1. It is too early (or too late) for me to consider planning for Medicaid.

It is never too early to start planning for the future! In fact, the sooner you get started, the more choices and options you will have. It’s also never too late. Planning in a crisis is not as good an option as planning in advance, but it is nonetheless possible. With the right team helping you, it is never too late to plan.

If you want to learn more about Medicaid and Medicare, the Elder Advisors Law team is here for you. You can sign up for one of our workshops or contact us directly. Either way, we look forward to hearing from you and to collaborating closely with you on your journey.

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Elder Advisors Law

As Leaders in Estate Planning and Elder Law, we are passionate about helping families protect their hard-earned assets from the government, nursing homes, lawsuits or other predators.

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