Unfortunately there is a vast amount of variety from State to State in these programs, both in their availability and how they are structured. The key difference between Medicare and Medicaid is that Medicare is the Federally mandated program, and Medicaid is a State program that operates to enhance or replace the Federal program using some or al of the dollars the State would receive. These programs are called Waiver programs because eStates must get their programs approved by the Feds, and they do this under various waivers, usually referred to by the federal code section that the waiver is approved under. For example California has an 1115J Waiver program. THe name is absolute non-sense to anyone who is not in the field.
The trick to navigating this is identifying local access (or access point) to resources, which is what the article tries to do for you by providing some links. In many states you may also call 211 from any telephone or cell phone. The most common access point is an Area Agency on Aging, or triple A as they are referred to. These agencies are often held with County government services, which can usually be accessed by telephone or the web. You can also visit www.211.org and start by entering your zip code, or your parent's zip code should you live apart.
Here are some tips:
If you are making the call, make sure you have all of your parent's information written down, such as their full name, address, phone number social security number, medicare/medicaid and other insurance information.
If your parents are able to make this call , make sure you are there to assist them, and write down any key points to likely questions.
Most of these programs require a specific level of financial need. If your parents have assets that disqualify them, have them use them to pay you a fair wage until they fall below the level required for the program. NEVER transfer assets directly to other family members, this could be a serious crime. If you have any doubts seek legal counsel.
Once your parents meet the means test there will be some form of an assessment of their needs, referred to Activities of Daily Living (ADL's). Seek information about they types of limitations they are experiencing, the frequency, and what it is like on their very worst day.
*Some states will allow peole with slightly higher incomes on the program at a slightly higher share of cost.
THe types of programs the article refers to could save billions of dollars, but are often too small or obscure because the system is biased towards nursing homes and other care facilities. THese facilities make significant amounts of money, and usually end up getting all of the funds associated with a person who is low income. These homes have staff that are members of powerful national unions, and are run by large and profitable corporations. It is almost always cheaper to keep people in their homes (average$9K per year) than a nursing facility (average $45K per year). You may find that it is necessary to find a number of programs like meals on wheels, bag lunch and food bank resources to make ends meet.
A large study by the Kaiser Health Foundation found that people who are able to live in their homes live longer, healthier and happier lives. They also incur significantly less medical cost. But there is a downside: another study by the Kaiser Health Foundation (or possibly the RWJ Foundation) found that care givers caring for terminally ill family members had significantly compromised their help by the time the family member died.
So remember to take care of yourself, seek resources such as Adult Day Health Care, respite care, and help from others so that you truly enjoy the time caring for your family as much as you can.