If you have an elderly parent who is on a low income or has no job at all, the two of you have probably discussed seeking coverage from Medicaid in addition to Medicare. Since a senior could qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid, it may be of benefit to know how these programs may help your loved one.
Medicare and Medicaid are different forms of government assistance, so they do not function in the same way. AARP describes what your parent might expect when receiving benefits from both of these programs.
Coverage order of each program
If you are wondering which program will pay the medical bills of your parent, generally people receive coverage from Medicare first. Since there are different forms of Medicare, you should be aware of what type of Medicare covers your parent. For instance, Medicare Part B offers payment for different outpatient services and visits to a doctor.
Once Medicare has provided coverage, Medicaid will kick in. Generally, Medicaid will pay for copayments, deductibles and other expenses your parent would have to pay for out-of-pocket.
Specific costs covered by each program
Remember that Medicare and Medicaid do not always cover the same expenses. For example, Medicare can pay for rehab services if your parent gets sick or becomes disabled, but not for long-term care in a nursing home. This is where Medicaid can take over.
Depending on the Medicaid rules of the state of Washington, Medicaid may provide payment for other non-Medicare costs such as in-home long-term care, travel to and from a physician, and dental appointments. Understanding what your parent could expect from Medicare and Medicaid can help the two of you create a well-informed care plan.