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The Need For Medical Assistance, Medicare Coverage, Medicaid Coverage For Elderly Persons, Delivering Medicaid Services To Elderly Persons

Millions of elderly people in the United States have extensive health care needs and expenses, but many have limited incomes or savings to help them cover the cost of care. Virtually all elderly Americans have Medicare, the federal health insurance program for elderly and disabled Americans, to help pay medical bills. However, limits in the scope of benefits, coupled with financial obligations for coverage, can impose a serious financial burden. Elderly persons with low incomes are particularly vulnerable to these burdens because they are more likely to have health problems than higher-income Medicare beneficiaries, yet are less able to afford care. In addition, they are less likely to be able to access or afford the supplemental coverage that many Medicare beneficiaries purchase to help fill in Medicare's gaps.

Medicaid, a means-tested entitlement program that provides health coverage to low-income Americans, serves as an important complement to Medicare by assisting low-income Medicare beneficiaries with Medicare premiums and cost-sharing, and by providing coverage for prescription drugs and long-term care services not available through Medicare. Medicaid's supplemental coverage helps many low-income elderly persons gain access to needed health services and provides financial security from the high cost of care.

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Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 3