What Are Medicare and Medicaid?


Quick Answer

Medicaid is established by the federal government and is intended to be used by low-income people, while Medicare is intended to act as a financial supplement for expensive medical costs incurred by senior citizens, according to Nolo. Paying Social Security taxes entitles a person to receive Medicare.

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Full Answer

The eligibility requirements for Medicare and Medicaid differ, notes Nolo. While being eligible for one doesn't automatically mean a person is eligible for the other, if the person does qualify for both, Medicaid covers a majority of the cost of premiums for Medicare Part A and B in addition to copayments and deductibles.

Nearly everyone who is older than 65 as well as those on Social Security disability qualify for Medicare, states Nolo. Part A of the program takes care of essential coverage for hospital stays, home health care and post hospital nursing facilities. Part B covers fundamental laboratory and doctor costs as well as some outpatient medical services.

Financially needy and low-income people qualify for Medicaid, according to Nolo. The rules for Medicaid aren't the same in every state. The program offers comprehensive outpatient and inpatient health care coverage. As of 2015, eyeglasses, prescription drugs, diagnostic care and preventative care are covered by Medicaid.

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