Dispelling Medicaid Myths

Correct information helps avoid mistakes.

We have found that there is a lot of misinformation about social welfare programs, their recipients, and what it costs to participate in the programs. The following are some myths about Medicaid for the Aged, Blind and Disabled and facts to consider:

Myth: Medicaid is a handout or a free ride. Once someone is eligible for Medicaid, the government pays for everything for the participant.

Fact: When a person is deemed eligible for Medicaid, they are required to share in the cost of their medical care. Depending on income level, some participants could pay as much as $2,100.00 per month to participate in the Medicaid program – hardly a free ride. Why would someone pay such a hefty sum to be on Medicaid? The cost of care without Medicaid would be considerably higher and leave them unable to pay for necessary medical care.

Myth: People on welfare programs, like Medicaid, are free loaders who are working the system.

Fact: People on Medicaid for the Aged, Blind and Disabled are retired school teachers who were once sharp as a tack, but have succumbed to the mind devastating effects of Alzheimer’s. They are farmers who once made a living off the sweat of their brow, who are now enfeebled by Parkinson’s disease. They are Veterans of our wars who once loaded torpedoes onto gunships in the South Pacific who are now themselves loaded from a gurney into an ambulance.

Myth: Once you are on Medicaid, the government takes over all of your money.

Fact: Medicaid participants remain in direct control of their income. Continued eligibility in the program requires the participant to make the aforementioned “share of cost” payment.

Myth: If your spouse needs to go on Medicaid, you have to spend down all your money in order for him or her to qualify.

Fact: The community spouse can retain the following property even if his or her spouse goes into a facility and receives Medicaid:

  • The parties home and adjacent land
  • One vehicle
  • Prepaid burial plans
  • ½ of the parties’ funds in bank accounts and cash value in insurance policies up to $117,240.00

In conclusion, the best way to avoid costly mistakes in qualifying for Medicaid is to have the correct information, which can be provided by an elder law attorney.

Tom Packer is an Elder Law Attorney serving all of Southeast Idaho. As part of his law practice, Tom offers Life Care Planning to deal with the challenges created by long-term illness, disability and incapacity. If you have a question about a senior’s legal, financial or healthcare needs, please call us.