A nursing home may be the best option for people at some point in their lives, but nursing home care can be expensive. As a result, many people go on Medicaid in order cover the cost of nursing home care. One concern people sometimes have is that they fear that they will receive worse care in a nursing home under Medicaid than if they were paying for care out-of-pocket. This fear, however, is unfounded for a couple of reasons.

First and foremost, discrimination against nursing home residents based on the source of their payments is illegal. The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1993 banned such discrimination. This means that there should be absolutely no difference in how residents are treated whether they pay for their care privately or through Medicaid.

Additionally, the vast majority of nursing home residents pay for their care through Medicaid. If you are considering Medicaid, you may think you are in a small minority, but according to a 2013 Kaiser Family Foundation study of nursing homes, almost two-thirds of nursing home residents are on Medicaid. According to the study, in 2011, 63 percent of nursing home residents used Medicaid as their primary payer while only 22 percent paid privately. To discriminate against Medicaid residents, therefore, would mean that nursing homes would be discriminating against most of their customers which, in the long-term, would be bad for business as such homes would get a poor reputation in their respective communities and lose future customers.

Even in the unlikely event of discrimination against Medicaid recipients in nursing homes, there are options available to seek recourse. If you feel that you, or a loved one, is being discriminated against in a nursing home due their use of Medicaid, you should contact your state’s Attorney General’s office or Medicaid office.

Please contact an elder law attorney in your area for any questions you may have about paying for nursing home care.