Social Security Disability and Medicare/Medicaid
For disabled folks who struggle to pay hospital bills, Medicare and Medicaid can help cut back the costs of hospital stays, physician visits, and necessary prescription drugs. A disabled person's eligibility for either program is dependent on the type of disability benefits that they receive. Medicare is a program run by the federal government that provides health insurance for citizens over the age of 65. In addition to the over 65 set, Medicare covers those that have been receiving Social Security disability benefits (under title II) for two years or more. Beneficiaries are automatically enrolled in Medicare (Part A only, which covers hospitalization; most beneficiaries will need to sign up for further coverage during the enrollment period) 24 months after their date of entitlement. The date of entitlement is five months after the established date of onset. In simpler terms, disabled beneficiaries are eligible for Medicare 29 months after the determined start date of the disability. Those with specific conditions, including renal failure, kidney transplant, ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, may be eligible for Medicare much sooner. Medicare coverage is complex, but is generally broken down into four categories of coverage: Part A – Hospital Insurance. A basic insurance that covers hospital stays as well as some hospice and home medical care. Part B – Medical Insurance. A more comprehensive insurance, requires an additional monthly fee and covers hospital stays, physician visits, laboratory services, home medical care, surgical services. Part C – Medicare Advantage. Private insurance plans through Medicare contracted companies. Plans are wide ranging and can cover a variation of the services and care covered by Part A or Part B. Part D – Prescription Drug Plans. Private prescription drug plans, approved by Medicare, that assist with the costs of medications. Those who receive supplemental security income under title 16, on the other hand, could be eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid is a state and local run program that helps patients with medical expenditures. Eligibility is based on several factors, but a limited income is one of the main prerequisites. Medicaid pays some or all of the medical expenses for qualifying individuals. Some individuals receive both disability benefits under title II as well as supplemental security income under title 16. In these instances, it is best to consult the Social Security Administration to determine whether you qualify for Medicaid or Medicare.