Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that helps with medical costs for some people with low incomes and limited resources. Medicaid programs vary from state to state. Some Medicaid programs offer coverage for needs like nursing home care, home care, and outpatient prescription drugs that aren't covered by Medicare. The names also vary. For example, Medicaid is known as Medi-Cal in California.

Some people with low incomes qualify for Medicaid. For example, individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income from the Social Security Administration are eligible for Medicaid in every state. Additionally, individuals with higher incomes that require the level of medical care provided in a nursing home may qualify for home and community-based services in some states. In some states you can qualify for Medicaid after exhausting your personal assets. However, the state may charge you a penalty if you give away assets to become eligible for Medicaid. Get more detailed information from your state Medicaid office or an attorney.

Be sure to research what kinds of facilities and services are included in the Medicaid program in your state. Many facilities do not accept Medicaid for payment while those that do may not meet your needs or be to your liking.

Advantages Disadvantages
Medicaid pays for long term care services in a nursing facility. In some states, it also provides minimal coverage for at-home care. You must meet your state's Medicaid eligibility requirements of low income and limited assets. You must exhaust most of your own assets (known as “spending down your assets”) before you are eligible for Medicaid, leaving little or nothing for your heirs.
If you are eligible for Medicaid, you will not have to pay for some kinds of care out of your own pocket. Your choice about the type and location of care is very limited. You must meet the "level of care screen" in most states to obtain some home healthcare and nursing facility care.
You must receive care from a Medicaid-certified provider. Many nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and home health providers don’t accept Medicaid payment.