Medicaid vs. Medicare

There are important differences between these two government healthcare programs, and it is important for anyone who may take advantage of these programs to understand the differences. On the most basic level, Medicare is a social security program that is run nationally, while Medicaid is a governmental program that operates on the state level. Medicare benefits are given to most people at the age of sixty-five, although certain disabled individuals can qualify for Medicare benefits earlier. Your ability to receive Medicaid is also influenced by your income and assets.

Medicaid: The Basics

The Medicaid program is for low-income families, children, and adults who need health coverage. It is offered at no charge to beneficiaries, and is run by your state. Because this program is income-based, qualifying for it is very strict. You must give the Medicaid program proof of all your income and assets, and that includes anything you own. If you don’t report something, you may be denied coverage. Children may be covered under Medicaid even if their parents are not. In fact, children are the biggest recipients of Medicaid benefits, because they are able to receive coverage for vision, dental, hearing, and other health coverage that is not available to adults.

Medicare: The Basics

Unlike Medicaid, Medicare is a more open program, at least if you are receiving it because of age. Most people are automatically enrolled in Medicare at the age of sixty-five, although some people receive Medicare benefits because of disability or certain illnesses. If you are disabled, you may receive up to twenty-four months of disability coverage under Medicare. Medicare is not a free program. Part A is offered at no cost, and covers your hospital care. Part B is also an automatic enrollment, but it includes a deductible and monthly fees.

Can The Two Combine?

Many Medicare beneficiaries are curious about receiving a combination of Medicare and Medicaid benefits. It can be done, and many elderly individuals receive benefits under both plans. If you receive Medicare, you may still apply and qualify for Medicaid. Medicare doesn’t cover 100% of all costs, because you will still have copayments and a deductible in many cases. If you need the assistance, you can use Medicaid to help you make ends meet. This is an option that many elderly patients pursue, especially because Medicaid is free for qualified enrollees, unlike Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans, which may fill in gaps and pay for fees that Medicare doesn’t cover.

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