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Medicaid: A Last Resort for People Needing Long-Term Services and Supports

Medicaid is a lifeline for millions of children and adults with disabilities and older people who depend on the program for health care and assistance with long-term services and supports (LTSS) such as toileting, bathing, and dressing. Medicaid is the nation’s largest publicly funded health and LTSS insurance program for people with low incomes.

Although most older adults will not rely on Medicaid, it is estimated that nearly one out of five of them will need the program to help pay for LTSS at some time during their lives. For people who need extensive services, the private cost without the program can be extremely high, far beyond what they can afford. For these individuals, Medicaid becomes a program of last resort.