What Is the Difference Between Medicaid and Medicare?

Medicare and Medicaid, even though the names might seem similar, are actually very different types of services for different people. It’s important to make sure you know which of these services you need and qualify for so you do not waste your time with the wrong program. Here are the basics of each of these programs to give you an idea of what they do.

What Is Medicare?

Medicare is a type of insurance program generally reserved for those who are 65 years of age and older, those who have been on Social Security disability for a certain period and those who are on dialysis. The medical bills for those who are on Medicare receive payment via trust funds of the people who have paid into the program. The amount of income someone has does not matter with Medicare.

The patients are responsible for part of the costs of the services and supplies. For the non-hospital coverage, called Part B, the users will pay a monthly premium. This program comes right from the government, who runs the program. Though they run the program, they do not have federal hospitals for the services. Instead, those who are using the service can choose from a variety of doctors and clinics that are part of the Medicare system. This gives those who use the system more choice when they are choosing their providers.

What Is Medicaid?

Medicaid is quite different from Medicare. This is an assistance program for those who are unable to afford general healthcare. The payment for the bills from Medicaid comes from the government tax funds at the local, state, and federal levels. The goal of the system is to provide those people who have low incomes with the care they need. In some cases, they may require a co-payment. In the event that they do, it is typically quite small.

The Medicaid program is federal and state and it can vary a bit from state to state. Those who may need to use the system will want to check into the options and features in their state of residence to see how everything works.

Someone who is on Medicare could also use Medicaid in some cases. It depends on the situation and need. Those who have low incomes, for example, will likely qualify. Before relying on the system though, it is important to check to make sure that you actually qualify for the service.