Page 26 - Senior Times South Central Michigan January 2021 - 28-01
P. 26

Page 26 Senior Times - January 2021
By: Anne Tumlinson, Founder, Daughterhood
I have a confession. I’ve been avoiding writing about Medicaid. It’s just so complicat- ed it scares even me, the expert. But Medicaid can be really important to daughterhood. Someday you might have to decide if it’s right for your parent. So, you have to get smart about it.
Why Medicaid is important? It’s import- ant because it’s the safety net when every- thing falls apart.
  Misconception #1: Medicaid is a lot like Medicare.
 The challenge here is navigating this very complicated program to get the help you need. Among the many complexities you’ll face as a daughter, few are more daunting and flat out scary than pursuing Medicaid eligibility...
Misconception #2: Medicaid is available to everyone.
They have to have LOW savings. Medicaid requires that you to have very little savings in the bank – about $2000.
But, as I’ve said before, I believe that you always just gotta start – you just have to get in the boat and start rowing, and the very first thing you need to do is avoid the big miscon- ceptions about Medicaid that trip up so many people.
So, it requires applicants to go through a challenging, complex, and often lengthy eligi- bility determination process.
For example, your parent can’t have just given you all their savings in order to qualify for Medicaid – at least not recently. Medicaid will actually go look at all your parent’s bank statements over the last five years and exam- ine every little transfer they made.
Not true. MediCAID is nothing like MediCARE. And, it is not a substitute for Medicare.
Medicare is the program that pays for health care – like doctors and hospitals – for everyone over age 65 and certain people with disabilities who are under age 65.
  When your frail mother has been caring
for your Dad at home alone for five years and she can’t do it any longer. When 24 hour a day home care is too expensive, and still not enough to keep your dad safe. And, then when his nursing home care quickly depletes their savings.
But, Medicare does not pay for long-term care – meaning care your parent needs on
a sustained and ongoing basis in a nursing home, an assisted living facility, or even ongoing home care.
paid for by Medicaid, they have to meet these basic requirements.
To get those services, you’ll either pay
for them yourself or, if you are eligible for Medicaid, it will pay for some or all of them.
Medicaid rules require you to need a lot of help doing one, two, or more of the most basic activities of daily life; like bathing and eating. Or they have a severe cognitive issue like dementia. So, your parent will have to go through a process in which Medicaid assesses their level of need.
Unlike Medicare, which nearly all of us will qualify for just by virtue of turning 65, Medicaid is VERY protective of who gets benefits. It’s a safety net program that is designed to swoop in when things are pretty tough.
When it comes to income and assets, there are a lot of rules for lots of different circum- stances.
In order to get your parent’s long-term care
They have to have a HIGH need for care.
 Maybe you’ve only heard about Medicaid as a program that provides health insurance under Obamacare. Well, for much longer than we’ve had Obamacare, Medicaid has been paying for nursing home care and, sometimes, home care for people who are very frail or disabled and whose income and assets have either been depleted by the costs of care or who never had much money to begin with.
In fact, the good news is if you’re an older adult, and you become eligible for Medicaid, you keep Medicare. This means that you’ll receive coverage from BOTH programs.
That’s right. You can be covered by Medicare and Medicaid at the same time, for different things.
Your parents’ income has to be too LOW to pay for care. Medicaid is saving its money for people who most need the program. So, you either have a low-income to start with OR, so much income already going to medical care or long-term care, that you don’t have enough to cover the full costs of your care.
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