Medicaid for Seniors: What You Need to Know

As we observe Medicaid Awareness Month this April, it’s important to recognize the significant role of Medicaid in providing coverage for seniors and older Americans. For those with low incomes, Medicaid serves as a lifeline, providing access to healthcare services that might otherwise be unaffordable.

Medicaid is a primary funder for long-term care and fills many gaps in Medicare coverage, such as transportation to medical appointments and medical equipment. It’s no surprise that more than 7.2 million American seniors and 8.5 million adults aged 50 to 64 rely on Medicaid coverage (Info Courtesy: Protect Our Care).

Yet despite the program’s importance, the benefits of Medicaid for America’s aging population often go unnoticed. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at Medicaid for seniors and elders and everything you should know about the role of Medicaid in ensuring their access to care.

What is the Difference Between Medicaid and Medicare?

Medicare and Medicaid are two government-run programs often used interchangeably, but they are vastly different. If you or a loved one are trying to navigate these programs, it’s important to understand their differences.

First and foremost, Medicare is a federal health insurance program that provides health care coverage for Americans age 65 and older and those with a disability. The program has different names in different states and is known as MassHealth, Medi-Cal, Apple Health, TennCare, and more. It’s important to note that Medicare is available to all Americans over 65 regardless of their income level. Conversely, Medicaid is a joint federal and state health insurance program that covers Americans with a limited income.

Medicaid is a program for persons with limited financial resources; not everyone is eligible for it. Every state offers multiple Medicaid programs for the elderly, each with its eligibility requirements. Understanding these differences is crucial to deciding which program best suits your or your loved one’s healthcare needs.

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a joint federal and state health insurance program that provides health care coverage to millions of Americans with limited income, including low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. It is designed to help people who cannot afford health care and ensure they have access to necessary medical services. The federal government and individual states fund the program, and each state has its eligibility requirements and benefits. Medicaid covers a wide range of medical services, such as doctor visits, hospital care, prescription drugs, and long-term care.

How do I know if I am Eligible for Medicaid?

Wondering whether you can apply for Medicaid or not? Medicaid eligibility rules are complex and vary depending on factors such as income, assets, marital status, and state of residence. Different Medicaid programs have their eligibility criteria, and there are multiple pathways to eligibility. This means that even if an applicant doesn’t qualify under one set of rules, they may still be eligible under a different set of rules. But to give you a general idea of eligibility criteria, we have curated a list of qualifications.

  1. Must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  2. You must be a resident of the state of Michigan to apply for benefits.
  3. You must be 65 years of age or older or an adult with disabilities.

Medicaid qualifications can change from year to year. Changes in financial situations or state expansions can also affect eligibility. If you are unsure about the eligibility requirements for Medicaid, contact your state’s Medicaid agency for assistance.

 What does Medicaid cover?

Medicaid covers medically necessary services such as:

  • ambulance
  • chiropractic
  • dental
  • doctor visits
  • emergency services
  • family planning
  • hearing and speech services
  • home health care
  • hospice care
  • inpatient and outpatient hospital care
  • lab
  • medical supplies
  • medicine prescribed by a doctor
  • mental health services
  • non-emergency medical transportation
  • nursing home care
  • personal care services
  • physical and occupational therapy
  • podiatry (foot care)
  • pregnancy care (prenatal, delivery, and post-partum)
  • private duty nursing
  • immunizations (shots)
  • substance use disorder treatment services
  • surgery
  • vision
  • x-ray

A yearly health exam is covered. Some of these services are limited and may not be covered for beneficiaries age 21 and older. Some of these services may require prior approval.

If you need additional details regarding insurance coverage or Medicaid for private caregiving or medical care services, kindly get in touch with our care advisors at 248.657.7674 or email us at

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