U.S. government programs in effect since 1966. Medicare covers most people 65 or older and those with long-term disabilities. Part A, a hospital insurance plan, also pays for home health visits and hospice care. Part B, a supplementary plan, pays for doctors' services, tests, and other services. Requirements and benefits are complex. Patients pay deductibles and copayments. Medicaid, a joint federal-state program, covers low-income people under age 65 and those who have exhausted Medicare benefits. It pays for hospital care, doctors' services, nursing-home care, home health services, family planning, and screening. Participating states must offer Medicaid to all persons on public assistance but decide their own eligibility guidelines. Many physicians refuse to treat Medicaid patients because of low reimbursement levels.
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