The federal government estimates that 70% of American seniors will eventually require long-term health care services, and others will need nursing home care.

If you become one of the millions of people in these circumstances, you will likely need Medicaid to cover your care due to the high costs involved.

About long-term care

Although many younger people qualify for low-cost health insurance, Medicaid spends most of its funds on long-term and disability care for senior citizens. In the absence of an affordable long-term care program in our country, even people who are well off financially must spend down to meet the Medicaid requirements if they need this kind of health care.

About nursing home care

Medicaid coverage is also available for seniors who need nursing home care. A 2015 survey found that the average cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home is over $80,000 annually. Medicaid enables older Americans who are in impoverished circumstances to have this kind of care.

The impact of the Deficit Reduction Act

Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act in 2005, a piece of legislation that directly affected the Medicaid and Medicare programs. If you are interested in applying for Medicaid, legal guidance can help you understand how this law affects your eligibility. The goal of the DRA was to give states increased flexibility so that more people could have Medicaid coverage at a lower cost. However, the Act requires all applicants to provide proof of American citizenship. It has also made the transfer of assets more difficult.

How to proceed

If you are an older American, you should not overlook the importance of Medicaid for seniors. No matter what your income level, no matter how few or how many assets you have, your state of health may someday prompt the need for long-term or nursing home care. Keep in mind that the Deficit Reduction Act may affect your eligibility for Medicaid, so explore your legal options to find out how best to proceed.