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Medicare vs Medicaid

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How is Medicare different from Medicaid?


The very basic difference between the two is that while Medicare is a federal health insurance program focused on the older population, Medicaid is a federal-state medical assistance program that is focused more on income.


The two programs were introduced in 1965 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society” vision. Encouraging and enabling seniors and low-income citizens to leverage the benefits of health insurance was the primary goal of these social insurance programs.


The major differences between Medicare and Medicaid are:


  • Medicare is essentially an insurance program, while Medicaid is an assistance program.
  • Medicare is a federal program and is the same across the United States whereas Medicaid varies from state-to-state.
  • Medicare is run by a federal government agency – the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Medicaid is in the hands of local governments that function under federal guidelines.
  • Medicare provides coverage for those over 65 years of age or those who have a critical disability, irrespective of the income. Medicaid, on the other hand, is specifically meant for those who fall under the low income bracket.
  • The resulting medical expenses and bills are paid from a trust fund that Medicare recipients have paid into. As for Medicaid, the patient typically does not have to pay for the covered expenses. However, a nominal co-payment amount may be required in some cases.


Medicare, Medicaid, SSD and SSI


In the case of a disability, if you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits you are automatically approved for Medicaid benefits (a few states are exceptions). At the age of 65, you will come under the Medicare program which offers more services than Medicaid.


Those receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits will receive Medicare benefits only after receiving SSD benefits for two years.


Visit the official government website or consult with one of our experts for more information on Medicare and Medicaid.


If you want to know how SSD or SSI benefits apply to your Medicare/Medicaid status, fill the Free Evaluation form now!