Essay about Medicare and Medicaid

2501 Words Mar 10th, 2013 11 Pages

Medicaid and Medicare are two different government programs. Both programs were created in 1965 to help older and low-income families be able to buy their own private health insurance. These programs were part of President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” plan, a commitment to helping meet the needs of individual health care. They are social insurance programs, which allow the financial load of patient’s illnesses to be shared by other healthy, sick, wealthy, and lower income individuals and families.
Medicaid insurance covers approximately 60 million Americans, according to their income. Medicaid is larger than any other single private health insurance program. The criteria for participating
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Eligibility: The second difference is eligibility. All seniors who paid into the Social Security system are eligible for Medicare. By contrast, Medicaid is a welfare program, so that a senior must have low income and limited assets in order to qualify. Those income and resource limits vary by state. Usually seniors apply for Medicaid through a local Medicaid office or begin the application process with the help of a nursing home or other facility's staff member.
Coverage: The third difference is coverage. Medicare currently pays for 80% of the cost of doctors and hospitals. Congress is now considering whether to add coverage for prescriptions. Medicare will pay for part of nursing home costs during the first 100 days after a hospital stay, but not otherwise. By contrast, Medicaid provides the majority of funding of nursing home residents in the nation. Often a senior enters a nursing home with certain assets and has to pay for the cost of care until they run out of money. Then Medicaid steps in and pays for the remaining part of the nursing home stay. If the senior is married, the spouse not living in the nursing home gets to keep a modest amount of income and resources in order not to be impoverished. Currently, all states must allow a spouse to keep at least $1,383 of the monthly family income and at least $16,824 of non-exempt resources. Certain resources are exempt, of which the most important is their principal residence, if they own

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