Medi-Cal Definitions You Should Know

Hi, there. My name is Bridget Mackay. I’m an estate attorney in Petaluma, and I practice in the area of elder law, probates, trust and estate planning. Today I want to talk to you a little bit about definitions when it comes to Medi-Cal, and applying for Medi-Cal. I think there is a lot of confusion in this area, so I want to clarify it. There’s sort of three names that come up when you talk about Medi-Cal.

The first is Medicare, M-E-D-I-C-A-R-E, and that is the government program that all seniors, 65 and over, receive at turning 65 to cover their medical premiums, so seeing your doctor, medical equipment, prescriptions, and even hospital stays. When you talk about Medicare, you talk about things like Part D and Part E, and that is just general medical coverage.

The second term that I think often gets confused is Medicaid, M-E-D-I-C-A-I-D, which is a federal and state program that is implemented in all 50 states, that applies to providing long-term care in skilled nursing facilities for the aged and disabled. So Medicaid is the term that’s used across the country for a program that serves aged and disabled folks who need long-term care in a skilled nursing facility. That means a nursing home. Medi-Cal is actually the same thing as Medicaid, except it’s the program that’s implemented in California. So Medi-Cal, MEDI-CAL, is often confused, and people want to use the term Medicaid, because Medi-Cal not only covers the aged and disabled needing long-term care and a skilled nursing facility, but it’s also the term used for those at the poverty level who are seeking medical coverage, food stamps, welfare and in fact, that same department administers the program of Medi-Cal for long-term people who are aged and the disabled in skilled nursing facilities.

I may have confused you more, but really when we talk in the subject, the only two terms that apply to getting government help to pay for your nursing home expenses is Medicaid, which is throughout the rest of the country, and then specifically when you are in California, we call it Medi-Cal. And in truth, in my subsequent videos I’ll tell you how Medicaid in other states is different than Medi-Cal here in California, because the requirements are drastically different than the other states in the country.

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