Medicare Vs. Medicaid Main Differences

Medicare and Medicaid are two major programs in the United States that help people get healthcare coverage if they can’t afford it. However, it is very easy to confuse these two programs. Even their names sound kind of similar. Sometimes these programs actually work together, but in most cases, they help different types of people who need medical coverage.

What is Medicare?

Medicare is the American government’s solution for healthcare for the elderly people. Everyone automatically becomes eligible for the program at age 65. You should enroll right then because if you don’t enroll at that point you may have to pay a late enrollment fee. You could also be eligible for Medicare if you are in end stage renal (kidney) failure or if you have been on disability for at least two years. Before this program was set into action it is estimated that as many as 40% of elderly Americans couldn’t afford their healthcare. Medicare also had the effect of forcing hospitals to racially integrate, as Medicare funds were only available to hospitals who chose to do so.

There are four parts to Medicare. Part A covers all sorts of hospital stays, drugs administered in an inpatient setting, skilled nursing care and hospice care, as well as some in home care. Part B covers your usual doctor’s visits and lab tests. Part C is a special private combination of Parts A & B that might cover more things. These private plans are a bit more expensive than Medicare’s original plans but it is worth it. They may also offer other types of coverage like dental, vision and hearing that Medicare does not usually cover. Part D covers all of your prescription drugs.

There is also Medigap insurance as a private insurance plan to cover things that Medicare doesn’t usually cover. There are 10 different types of plans to choose from that cover different aspects of your health. This includes some plans that even offer health coverage for when you are traveling abroad, allowing you to have a carefree retirement full of fun and travel!

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a health coverage program for low income Americans who can’t otherwise afford health insurance or health care costs. Medicaid is partially funded by the federal government, and partially funded by each state. That’s why the benefits can vary so greatly from state to state, and each state technically has its own Medicaid program.

To be eligible for Medicaid you must meet the eligibility requirements and they are different in each state. In most cases, you cannot have much in assets, and you must be below a certain income level.

The federal government sets what services must be covered under Medicaid programs, but some states may offer more coverage than others. The bare minimum includes things like hospital stays, lab tests, nursing services, home healthcare, pediatric care and doctors visits among other things. Some states also offer vision, physical therapy and other services that are not mandated by the federal government. Medicaid is also used to fund long-term care a lot of the time

Main Differences Between Medicare and Medicaid

So, you can easily see that the main difference between Medicare and Medicaid is that each is for a different groups of people. Some people may be eligible for both at a certain point, but for most people, they are not. Medicare is for Americans aged 65 and older, those on disability for more than 2 years and those in end stage renal failure. Medicaid is for low income Americans who do not have that many assets and who also are below a certain income level.

The other main difference is that Medicare does have some costs associated with it, like monthly premiums, deductibles and coinsurance, but Medicaid is completely free. People on Medicaid don’t pay anything at all to get healthcare services.

How to Get Medicare and Medicaid

When you turn 65, you should sign up for Medicare if you’re not already on it. The sign up process is fairly easy and if you have questions, you can always keep reading on this website. Signing up for Medicaid is a bit more complicated. You will need to make sure you are eligible for the program in your state and if you are, you will need to prove it. Visit your state’s Medicaid website and sign up there by filling out an application to find out if you will be able to get into the program.

In Conclusion

Medicare and Medicaid are both essential systems in our country to get healthcare to the people who need it. Health care is necessary to live and some people even consider it a human right, so if you need it there are programs to help you get it!

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