Medicare is federal health insurance which is available to Americans
65 years of age and older, and some disabled individuals. It covers
routine medical care as well as acute episodes such as hospitalization
and rehabilitation after leaving the hospital. Medicare Part A pays
for hospitalization, Medicare Part B pays for doctor visits, and
Medicare Part D pays for prescription drugs. Parts B and D are optional,
and require the recipient to pay a premium. Like all insurance policies,
Medicare doesn’t cover 100% of all expenditures. Seniors usually buy
supplemental or "Medigap" insurance to cover Medicare copayments and
deductibles, and to pay for some non-covered expenditures. Medicare
may pay for short-term nursing home care or home health care after an
illness. In general, however, Medicare does NOT pay for long-term care,
either in nursing homes or in the community. For more information on
Medicare, visit the Medicare website
Much helpful information on Medicare and Medigap is also available from
, the Senior Health Insurance
Information Program of the NC Department of Insurance.
Medicaid is a health care and long-term care program for financially
needy individuals, paid for with a combination of state and federal dollars.
Typically, a person or couple has to have very low income and very few
assets (less than $2000 for an individual or $3000 for a couple) to be
eligible for Medicaid. For senior citizens, Medicaid serves as a supplement
to Medicare, paying the premiums, deductibles, and copays, and offering
some services not covered by Medicare, such as long-term care. In most states,
Medicaid will pay for nursing home care; in some, including North Carolina,
clients also have the option of remaining in their homes and receiving in-home
services and adult day services (see CAP/DA). Applications for Medicaid are
taken at the county level. In Wake County, call Wake County Human Services
Adult Economic Services at 919-212-7000 for information about applying.
More information about Medicaid may be found on the
NC Medicaid website
You can also call Resources for Seniors for more information, at 919-872-7933.