Medicare and Medicaid are two separate, government-run programs. They are operated and funded by different parts of the government and primarily serve different groups.
Medicare is an insurance program. Medical bills are paid from trust funds which those covered have paid into. It serves people over 65 primarily, whatever their income; and serves younger disabled people and dialysis patients. Patients pay part of costs through deductibles for hospital and other costs. Small monthly premiums are required for non-hospital coverage. Medicare is a federal program. It is basically the same everywhere in the United States and is run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, an agency of the federal government.
Medicaid is a medical assistance program. It serves low-income people of every age. Patients usually pay little or no part of costs for covered medical expenses and has very strict eligibility requirements, including income and resource limits. A small co-payment is sometimes required. Medicaid is a federal-state program. It varies from state to state. It is run by state and local governments within federal guidelines.
What’s the difference between Medicaid and Medicare?
Medicare is available to individuals based on age or disability. If your eligibility depends on age, you’ll have access to the program once you turn 65. Medicaid is designed for individuals in low-income situations or other special circumstances.
- Medicare Part A is hospital insurance and Part B is medical insurance.
- Medicaid is Medical Assistance for people with limited resources.
How can I get Medicaid?
Not everyone qualifies for Medicaid. If your income falls below the poverty level, determined by your state, you might qualify. There are also a number of mandatory eligibility groups, including some pregnant women and children and individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income.