Medicaid serves low income families and disabled adults who have no other form of health care insurance. Medicare is an entitlement program given to all United States citizens over the age of 65. When a person retires and finds himself eligible for Medicare, he may find that he wants to purchase a Medicare supplemental policy to take care of additional insurance needs. A person on Medicaid who has limited resources, probably cannot afford to buy a standardized Medicare supplement policy. He may wonder if Medicaid can take over as a secondary payer in this situation.
If a person has dual eligibility, meaning he qualifies for both programs, he can hold off on Medicare supplement policy open enrollment period for the time being. He can keep his Medicaid and have Medicare. He may even qualify for extra help paying the premiums for the former program. He will have to have his eligibility for Medicaid reviewed periodically to see if he still falls within the program guidelines. For single adults, this is usually based on disability and a person’s annual income level and the resources he or she has built up. If these exceed the federal and state guidelines, he needs to buy a Medicare supplement policy.
State and federal rules do not allow for this kind of redundancy. Most states will not let a person apply for Medicaid if he has some other type of non-Medicare insurance, unless he has recently lost it. He must also demonstrate that he needs the help in the first place. The welfare departments of most states also require a person to fill out a lot of paperwork to show eligibility for Medicaid. For many people, it will be much easier to take out a Medicare supplement policy.