Like two halves of the same whole, Medicare and Medicaid both deal with healthcare in the United States, particularly helping members of the population get access to much-needed financial support in relation to varying medical and healthcare needs.
But that’s pretty much where the similarities end. While Medicare deals with individuals over 65 and those who are eligible as a result of disability or kidney failure, Medicaid is largely based on income when it comes to eligibility. In essence, the two programs are operated and managed differently, they deal with two very different demographics, and they offer different programs dependent on individual needs.
What is Medicare
Medicare is for those US citizens over 65 who need support in financing their own healthcare later in life. With a series of plans available depending on preference and need, beneficiaries can sign up to receive support with hospital Insurance and payments, medication, outpatient activity, medical bills, and even extra areas such as vision and dental treatments. It all comes down to the plan they sign up for.
For those who fully meet the eligibility criteria, Part A as a standard is available with premium. This is on the provision that the beneficiary has paid all their taxes and worked in the US for at least ten years. If these boxes are not ticked, the beneficiary will likely find themselves faced with monthly premiums in return for the financial support of Medicare.
Each case is evaluated in line with eligibility criteria closely, and there are other instances such as disability and kidney failure, which can result in Medicare support.
What is Medicaid
Medicaid is funded by the US state and Federal Governments and provides healthcare financial support to those who are from low-income households and who require external support for ongoing medical costs. This could be anything from major treatments and hospital stays to routine procedures and check-ups – the only real criteria for Medicaid is that it applies only to those who are not eligible for any other kind of medical coverage or support due to their strained financial situation.
For those benefiting from the support of Medicaid, unlike those with Medicare coverage, there are usually no associated fees or premiums required. However, some extreme cases may require a form of co-payment. As with Medicare, this is often decided based on the individual case.
Which is Right for Me - Can I Apply for Both?
Medicaid tends to provide support on a much broader basis than that offered by Medicare because it is designed to support those with no income to support their own healthcare needs. As well as the hospital and medical insurance provided by Medicare under its own programs and plans, Medicaid support includes:
- Hospital services for outpatients as well as inpatients
- Family planning services
- Health screenings for adults and children
- Nursing service facilities
- Surgical dental services
It is worth noting that different states offer their own interpretation of Medicaid, so your situation will be assessed independently by the regulated caseworker.
Having both Medicare and Medicaid will likely cover all of your healthcare costs. However, you would have to be fully eligible for both packages to receive the benefits.