Once you retire and enroll in Medicare, you might be surprised to learn that you can face thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket healthcare costs each year. That can come as an unpleasant shock to those who are already living on a fixed income and are relying on Medicare to cover their medical expenses. But for some lower-income retirees, there is another option that can help.
Medicaid is a program separate from Medicare, but also designed to help with the cost of medical care. It’s funded by both federal and state governments, and due to state funding, the qualifications and coverage can vary by state. In some states, the program goes by different names such as Medi-Cal in California or SoonerCare in Oklahoma. And yes, some people can qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid.
When Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of a service, Medicaid often does. Those who are “dual eligible”, meaning they are eligible to enroll in both programs, might be happy to learn that Medicaid can cover the cost of things such as:
- Medicare Part B premiums
- Medicare Part B deductibles
- Medicare Part A deductibles (for hospital stays)
- Medicare Part D copayments, and deductibles for covered drugs
- Nursing home care, in facilities that accept Medicaid payment.
- Home-based and community-based supports, depending on services available in your area.
In order to qualify for Medicaid you must meet certain income and assets tests. In some cases, you might qualify by income, but own certain assets that disqualify you. Under those circumstances it can be helpful to speak with an estate planning attorney who is experienced in helping clients qualify for Medicaid.
If you don’t qualify for Medicaid, certain other savings programs do exist. If you struggle with the cost of out-of-pocket medical bills, call us, we are licensed agents who can assist with your options.