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What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

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Wiki User
April 03, 2017 5:51AM

My understanding is that Medicare is a program developed by LBJ for medical care for certain senior citizens who have made FICA payroll deductions during their employment. My understanding of Medicaid is that it covers health care for indigents and their dependents, regardless of age. More Detail: Medicare is an insurance program. Bills are paid from trust funds which those covered have paid into. It serves people over 65 primarily, whatever their income; and serves younger disabled people and dialysis patients. Patients pay part of costs through deductibles for hospital and other costs. Small monthly premiums are required for non-hospital coverage. Medicare is a federal program. It is basically the same everywhere in the United States and is run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, an agency of the federal government.

Medicaid is an assistance program. Medical bills are paid from federal, state and local tax funds. It serves low-income people of every age. Patients usually pay no part of costs for covered medical expenses. A small co-payment is sometimes required. Medicaid is a federal-state program. It varies from state to state. It is run by state and local governments within federal guidelines.
MEDICARE is US government health insurance that reduces costs for people who are older than 64 or who have disabilities. When a person becomes qualified, MEDICARE notifies him or her.

MEDICAID is a US government program managed by each state separately. It pays for certain health care needs for people with incomes below a certain level. A person has to apply for this to find out if he or she is qualified. In most states, this is handled at the same time that the person applies for "food stamps" or "welfare".

Neither program pays the doctor or the hospital as much as a regular insurance company would pay. Both programs require extra paperwork and long waiting periods before the doctor or hospital gets their money from the government. These are the main reasons that many health professionals will not accept MEDICARE or MEDICAID. It's not that they don't like poor people or older people. They just need to earn enough to cover their expenses and stay in business.