Medicare and Medicaid are two of the most important health programs in the U.S. Together, they help over 150 million people. Trying to understand your healthcare options but still confused about the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?
Medicare is health insurance for anyone age 65 and older, except for people under 65 who have certain disabilities or conditions. Medicaid gives health coverage to people with limited income and resources. Below, you will learn more about eligibility, what’s covered, and how to apply.
Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease.
There are three different parts of Medicare, Part A, B, and D:
Some people get Medicare Part A and B automatically, others must apply. You will receive Medicare automatically if you are:
To apply for Medicare, visit Medicare.gov and fill out the guided questionnaire. It is two to three questions that help you find what coverage you are eligible for and how to sign up.
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that helps cover medical costs for people with limited income and resources. It offers benefits not normally covered by Medicare, like nursing home care and personal care services. Eligibility is based on the state you live in.
Typically, you must live in the state you apply to and meet your state income and resource requirements. However, some states let you “spend down” the amount of your income that is above the state’s Medicaid limit. You do this by paying non-covered medical expenses and cost sharing (like premiums and deductibles) until your income is lowered enough to qualify you for Medicaid.
If you have Medicare and qualify for full Medicaid coverage:
Medicaid may pay for other drugs and services that Medicare does not cover.