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Certified Elder Law Attorneys Serving New Jersey Residents Since 1978.

Misunderstanding the Medicaid program in New Jersey

As medical advancements extend lives, it can be both a blessing and a concern. More families are dealing with care decisions for elders. The sad day may come when one partner can no longer care for the other due to advanced Alzheimer's or dementia.

The accelerating price increases of senior care centers add another layer of stress to adult children trying to navigate complicated programs. They may even receive incorrect information several times from wrong departments while attempting to get help. Younger caregivers are seldom prepared to run the Medicaid obstacle course.

Myth #1: Medicaid is confusing and complicated

To some extent, the statement that Medicaid can be confusing is a fact, not a myth; however, with some helpful strategies, caregivers can learn how to access program-eligible benefits. Dealing directly with the local Medicaid office can raise more questions than solutions. Laws and procedures can change so quickly that even Medicaid employees may have trouble keeping up. 

There is no need to despair; caring assistance is available to explain access requirements for maximum benefits. Many questions will arise. Most caregivers are already under stress with a full-time job and caring for young children or teens. Getting professional help can be vital in realizing the best outcome for elders. Caregivers will appreciate the bonus of avoiding stress and the need to research and make difficult decisions. 

Myth #2: Medicare and Medicaid are basically the same programs

This misconception is one of the hardest to dispel. The names are similar, and both agencies assist qualified elders with long-term care. Until caregivers run into the necessity of finding assistance for their loved ones, the differences between these two programs are not always clear. Sorting them out can become more confusing as adult children attempt to research what they need for their parents.

  • Medicare is a federally funded and government-administered retirement program. It pays retirement benefits based, in part, on government taxes paid into the program during a parent's working years.
  • Medicaid provides health insurance coverage for persons with disabilities and low-income individuals or families. Funded by both state and the federal resources, each state independently designs and administers its Medicaid program.

Myth #3: Medicaid will take the parental home and assets

Again, this myth is common but mostly untrue. The family house remains untouched if one partner is living in the house while the other partner lives at a Medicaid-assisted senior care facility. To retain an aging couple's assets, consult with your Medicaid legal professional. It is important to set up a plan to protect your loved ones' assets and help ease each step of the way for all of you on this new journey.

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