What Is the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid?


Quick Answer

Medicare and Medicaid differ in who they cover. Medicare is a federal health insurance program for persons 65 and older and persons with disabilities. Medicaid is a program overseen at both the state and federal level that assists those with low income in obtaining medical and long-term custodial care.

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Full Answer

Medicare is available regardless of income. It includes four types of coverage, labeled Part A through Part D. Part A is hospitalization coverage, while Part B is medical insurance. These two coverages are funded through Social Security deductions and payroll taxes. Part C is a supplement, and Part D covers prescription drugs. Coverage through Parts C and D is purchased privately by individuals.

Medicaid is funded by taxes. Since it is jointly run by each state, rules for eligibility vary. Certain groups meeting the poverty guidelines are eligible for Medicaid coverage.

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