What Is The Difference Between Medicare And Medicaid?

Give this article a thorough read to find out what is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid.

Set up in 1965 and funded by citizens, Medicare and Medicaid are U.S. government-backed projects intended to assist with taking care of healthcare costs for American residents. Although these two projects have names that sound pretty similar and are both government-run programs, they do have a lot of differences too. People often get confused between the two programs and how they work, which is why we are able to help you.

Medicare gives clinical coverage to numerous individuals who are 65 years old or more and even those with a disability. Unlike Medicaid, your salary does not matter in order for you to qualify for Medicare. On the other hand, Medicaid is intended for individuals with a limited salary and is usthe last option for individuals who have run out of options and do not have access to any other resources. A few people are eligible to get both Medicare and Medicaid. Medicaid can assist with paying Medicare expenses, deductibles, and copays for low-income individuals. Medicaid likewise can pay for nursing home and personal care services, expenses that aren’t regularly covered by Medicare.

If you want to know more about what is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid, then you have come to the right place. We have gathered all relevant information to help you understand everything that you need to know about the difference between these two programs. So, what are you waiting for? Without much further ado, let us dive right in!

What is Medicare?

Medicare is an arrangement intended for U.S. residents who are 65 years old or more and experience issues covering the costs identified with medical care and therapies. This program offers help to senior residents and their families who need monetary assistance for medical necessities. Moreover, Medicare additionally covers younger individuals with disabilities and certain illnesses, including end-stage renal disease (kidney failure) and Lou Gehrig’s infection or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Each case is assessed on the basis of qualification necessities and the subtleties of the program. The program has four sections. Let us look at them in more detail:

Part A: Hospitalization coverage

Medicare Part A gives hospitalization coverage to people who are 65 years old or more, paying little mind to how much they earn. To qualify, you or your life partner should have worked and paid Medicare charges for at least 10 years. Several people don’t pay a premium for Part A, yet deductibles and coinsurance apply.

Part B: Medical insurance

Those qualified for Medicare Part A likewise fit the bill for Part B, which covers medically essential services and gear. This incorporates visits to the doctor’s office, lab work, x-rays, wheelchairs, walkers, and outpatient medical procedures. In addition to this, Part B also includes coverage for preventive services like disease screenings and influenza shots.

For 2021, the standard Part B premium is $148.50 (by and large deducted from Social Security or Railroad Retirement installments). Moreover, deductibles and coinsurance also apply. In addition to this, people who earn more than $88,000 each year ($176,000 for a couple) have to pay more for this program. You must recollect that people are not ordered to pursue Part B as soon they are qualified in case they are still covered by their manager’s insurance. Notwithstanding, it might cost more to join further down the road, because of a late-enrollment punishment.

Part C: Medicare Advantage plans

People who are qualified for Medicare Part A and Part B are in like manner qualified for Part C, otherwise called Medicare Advantage. Medicare Part C plans are offered by privately owned businesses supported by Medicare.

Together with giving coverage offered by Parts A and B, Part C offers vision, hearing, and dental coverage, and may likewise give prescription drug coverage. In that manner, it works similar to the health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and preferred provider organizations (PPOs), through which many individuals get medical administrations during their functioning years.

Furthermore, taking a crack at Part C might diminish the expenses of buying administrations independently. People ought to painstakingly assess their medical necessities since Part C members by and large compensate out of their own pocket for the related services.

Part D: Prescription drug coverage

Medicare Part D gives prescription drug coverage. Members pay for Part D plans using cash from their own pocket and should pay month-to-month charges, a yearly deductible, and copayments for specific treatments. Those who have enrolled in Medicare Part C will possibly need to think about Part D if their arrangement has no prescription drug coverage.

The yearly Medicare open enrollment period starts from Oct. 15 and ends on Dec. 7 for 2021.

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a joint government and state program that helps those who have a low income. Under the Affordable Care Act, most states have extended Medicare qualification to individuals with salaries up to 133% of the federal poverty line. In addition to this, Americans of any age pay for the expenses related to medical and long-term custodial care. Kids who need minimal expense care yet whose families earn a lot to fit the bill for Medicaid are covered through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which has its own arrangement of rules and prerequisites.

What is the cost of Medicare vs. Medicaid?

Medicare costs

Individuals who have worked for at least 10 years, and their spouses or qualifying ex-life partners, pay no charges for Medicare Part A, which covers hospitalization. However, Medicare beneficiaries normally have cash-based expenses, including deductibles and copays. In addition to this, Medicare Part B, which provides coverage for visits to the doctor, and Part D, which covers prescriptions, additionally require you to pay charges. Given below is an outline of the expenses you’ll have to pay with Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage:

Original Medicare                             Medicare Advantage

Monthly premium     part A: typically $0; part B                  varies (can start at $0)

typically $148.50

Deductible                 part A: $1,484 each benefit                varies (can start at $0); you may

period; part B: $203                            have a health and a drug deductible

if your plan includes both coverages

Coinsurance/copays part A: $0, $371, or $742+                  varies (generally, $0–$50+ per visit)

per day (depending on the length

of your stay); part B: 20% of all

approved medical services after

deductible is met

Out-of-pocket max    none                                                    $3.400 – $10,000+

Moreover, there are additionally four diverse Medicare Savings Programs, which are intended to assist with the expense of Medicare. On the off chance that you meet the conditions to fit the bill for one of these projects, you could get help to pay for your Medicare charges, and sometimes even get help paying for Medicare Part A and Part B deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments.

Medicaid costs

Medicaid is commonly free. A few groups might need to pay a small amount of copayment. Likewise, Medicaid can make a claim against an individuals’ resources after they pass away. However, the vast majority of individuals who get Medicaid have little to no resources. In addition to this, states can charge restricted expenses and enrollment charges as a type of cost-sharing. This applies to specific gatherings of Medicaid enrollees, including:

  • eligible disabled and working individuals with an income above 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL)
  • pregnant women and infants with a household income at or above 150% of the FPL
  • disabled children qualified on the basis of the Family Opportunity Act
  • disabled working individuals qualified under the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999
  • medically needy individuals

Medicare and Medicaid eligibility

To enroll in each program, you must meet certain requirements. Let us look at the criteria to qualify for either Medicare or Medicaid.

Medicare eligibility

By and large, qualification for Medicare depends on the age of the candidate. An individual should be a legal resident or permanent citizen of the United States and should be 65 years old or more to qualify. The qualification criteria for expenses and certain Medicare plans will rely upon how long you have been paying your Medicare taxes. The special case for this is individuals who are younger than 65 and have reported disability. For the most part, individuals who get Medicare benefits likewise get some type of Social Security benefits. In addition to this, Medicare advantages can likewise be stretched out to:

  • the child of an individual who worked a minimum length of time at a government job and paid Medicare taxes
  • An individual qualified for the Social Security disability program who’s also a widow or widower and is 50 years old or more

Medicaid eligibility

Qualification for Medicaid mainly depends on your salary. Regardless of whether somebody qualifies or not relies upon income level and family size. The Affordable Care Act has stretched out coverage to fill in the healthcare gaps for those with low wages, setting up a base salary threshold throughout the nation. You can visit Healthcare.gov to see whether you meet all requirements for help within your state or not.

Furthermore, for most adults under the age of 65, qualification is a pay lower than 133% of the federal poverty level. As indicated by Healthcare.gov, this sum for 2021 is roughly $12,880 for an individual and $26,500 for a family of four. Kids are afforded the cost of higher pay levels for Medicaid and the CHIP dependent on the individual guidelines of the state where they reside.

There are likewise unique projects within the Medicaid program that stretch out coverage to individuals that need prompt help, like pregnant ladies and those with serious medical needs.

Medicare and Medicaid coverage

Medicare coverage

Medicare Part A and Part B, otherwise called Original Medicare, cover a large portion of the inpatient and outpatient medical requirements of recipients. Part C (otherwise called Medicare Advantage) and Part D (prescription drug coverage) are accessible through private guarantors and provide coverage past what is incorporated with Part A and Part B. Let us look at what each part covers.

What does Medicare Part A cover?

Medicare Part A is actually your hospitalization insurance. Medicare Part A coverage consists of:

  • Hospital meals
  • Hospital stays (semi-private rooms) up to 60 days
  • Intensive care services
  • Nursing services
  • Part-time home nursing care
  • Lab tests and X-rays taken while hospitalized
  • Drugs, medical supplies, and equipment used on the premises
  • Surgery and recovery costs
  • Rehabilitation and therapy services

What does Medicare Part B cover?

Medicare Part B gives coverage for outpatient medical needs. It includes:

  • Routine visits to the doctor
  • Flu shots and other immunizations
  • Tests, screenings, and X-rays
  • Outpatient mental health care
  • Important medical supplies
  • Clinically necessary preventive care

What do Medicare Part C and Part D cover?

You can add more coverage to your Original Medicare with Part C and Part D plans, which are offered through private guarantors. In addition to this, you can add any part you like, or you can consolidate both Part C and Part D as a Medicare Advantage prescription drug (MAPD) plan. Part C, or Medicare Advantage, offers Part A and Part B coverage and may offer additional advantages including:

  • Routine dental care including cleanings, dentures, and X-rays
  • Routine hearing care including hearing aids
  • Routine vision care including contacts and glasses
  • Fitness benefits including exercise classes
  • Prescription drug coverage when combined with Part D

Part D plans only offer prescription drug coverage. These plans are a decent alternative when you simply need drug coverage added to your Original Medicare.

Medicaid coverage

The advantages covered by Medicaid fluctuate from one state to another. However, there are a few advantages, such as:

  • inpatient and outpatient hospital services
  • lab and X-ray services
  • health screenings and applicable medical treatments for children
  • family planning services, such as birth control and nurse/midwife services
  • surgical dental services for adults
  • nursing facility services for adults

Since Medicaid varies from state to state, you might need to associate with a caseworker in your state to survey your circumstance and get help applying.

Medicare vs. Medicaid: Dependent coverage

Medicare: Medicare ordinarily doesn’t cover dependents. However, the spouse or ex-life partner of somebody who is qualified for coverage can likewise be covered by Medicare. Moreover, there are also some special cases such as children, individuals with end-stage renal illness, or Lou Gehrig’s infection, and those who may qualify through the work history of a life partner or parent.

Medicaid: Medicaid covers dependents. Medicaid and the associated Children’s Health Insurance Program give health insurance to more than 35 million children.

Medicare vs. Medicaid: Who runs it?

Medicare: Medicare is a government program. The amount that is covered and what individuals pay is similar in each state.

Medicaid: Medicaid is a state and government-run program. The central government makes the rules. However, the program is directed by states so qualification requirements change.

Can I have both Medicare and Medicaid?

Indeed, you can have both Medicare and Medicaid. In case you are qualified for both Medicare and Medicaid (dually eligible), you can have both. For this situation, you might have Original Medicare (parts A and B) or a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C), and Medicare will cover your prescription drugs under Part D. In addition to this, Medicaid may likewise cover other considerations and medications that Medicare usually doesn’t. Therefore, having both these plans will presumably cover the greater part of your healthcare costs. They will cooperate to provide you with health coverage and lower your expenses.

Additionally realize that while Medicare and Medicaid are both health insurance programs regulated by the public authority, there are differences in services and cost-sharing. You can call 1-800-MEDICARE or contact your nearby Medicaid office to become familiar with Medicare and Medicaid expenses and coverage, particularly in case you are eligible for both.

Pros and cons of Medicare

Almost 63 million Americans have tried out Medicare as of December 2020. An enormous number of recipients such as these depend on some sort of Medicare health coverage, yet what are some of the advantages and disadvantages Medicare recipients might confront? Let us see.


Some advantages of having Original Medicare coverage include:

Low monthly premiums

A great many people get Medicare Part A (clinic insurance) without paying a charge. Medicare Part B (medical insurance) is discretionary. The standard Part B premium is $148.50 each month in 2021. Moreover, the average benchmark premium expense of a Silver arrangement under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) marketplace is $452 each month in 2021.

Broad eligibility

In order to qualify for Medicare Part A and Part B, you generally must be:

  • A U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident for a minimum of five years
  • At least 65 years old
  • Less than 65 years old but have a qualifying disability or condition, such as ALS or End-Stage Renal Disease

Broad acceptance

Medicare is acknowledged by more than 90% of doctors. Medicare might be utilized in all of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to this, Medicare Part A and Part B overage can likewise be utilized in:

  • Guam
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Puerto Rico
  • American Samoa
  • Virgin Islands


Original Medicare can include a few disadvantages, such as:

No vision, dental, hearing, or retail prescription drug coverage

A massive range of clinical and hospital benefits are covered by Medicare Part A and Part B, but they still do not provide coverage for many other things. Original Medicare doesn’t typically cover items or services such as:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Fitness club or gym memberships
  • Routine dental care or dentures
  • Routine hearing care or hearing aids
  • Routine vision care or eyeglasses

Medicare beneficiaries can consider enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan in order to get coverage for some of the benefits listed above.

Out-of-pocket costs

Cash-based expenses that recipients should consider are included in Medicare Part A and Part B.

  • In 2021, you should meet your Part A deductible of $1,484 per advantage period before your Part A coverage kicks in. You might actually pay extra coinsurance expenses of up to $742 each day in 2021 for inpatient emergency clinic stays of more than 90 days. Although this is uncommon, it merits considering.
  • Medicare Part B incorporates a deductible of $203 each year in 2021. After you meet your Part B deductible, you are normally answerable for paying 20% of the Medicare-endorsed cost for your covered administrations or things.
  • There is no cap on this 20% coinsurance or copayment, which implies that you might actually confront high cash-based expenses for your Part B medical consideration administrations.

Medicare recipients can consider joining up with a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan that can assist with covering a portion of their cash-based Medicare costs, like certain deductibles and copayments.

No out-of-pocket limit

Original Medicare doesn’t have an out-of-pocket limit. This implies that Medicare recipients have no restriction to the measure of cash they might be needed to pay out of their own pocket for canvassed health care administrations during a year. All Medicare Advantage plans incorporate a cash-based spending limit. Moreover, certain Medicare Supplement Insurance plans likewise incorporate a cash-based spending cap.

Advantages and disadvantages of Medicare Advantage plans

Medicare Advantage plans are an option in contrast to Medicare Part A and Part B. Medicare Advantage plans basically provide coverage for almost the same advantages as Original Medicare. One advantage of joining a Medicare Advantage plan is that a few plans additionally cover things like prescription drugs and routine vision and dental care. You can likewise browse various kinds of Medicare Advantage plans, for example, health maintenance organization (HMO) plans and preferred provider organization (PPO) plans, contingent upon where you live. Some Medicare Advantage plans likewise offer $0 month-to-month charges, and all Medicare Advantage plans incorporate a yearly cash-based spending limit.

Pros and cons of Medicaid

There are advantages and disadvantages to tolerating Medicaid patients in medical practice. Numerous doctors feel the disadvantages offset the advantages, yet benefits do exist for the right practice. Here, we take a gander at a portion of the central matters to think about while assessing whether to go for Medicaid or not.


Extensive patient base

Maybe the greatest advantage to having Medicaid patients is the massive patient base. In 2017, more than almost 73 million individuals enrolled in Medicaid. That addresses around 22% of the whole populace or just about one of every four individuals in the U.S. That is a sizable expected patient base for any medical practice.

Notwithstanding, these figures can’t be straightforwardly deciphered to decide if a facility ought to take into account Medicaid patients. Practices situated in rich areas, in which not very many individuals will be qualified for Medicaid, will probably draw every one of their patients from those spaces. There isn’t a lot of motivator for facilities in regions like these to oblige Medicaid patients.

Then again, if a facility is actually situated in a space with a huge low-income populace, it would not bode well to attempt to develop the facility by focusing on non-Medicaid patients.

Medicaid can help get new practices established

For a recently dispatched medical practice, tolerating Medicaid patients can be an approach to rapidly develop a patient base. It lessens the need to go through broad marketing strategies, something that is fundamental for a facility focusing on non-Medicaid patients.


Lower reimbursements and reduced revenue

Each medical practice needs to generate profit in order to remain in business. However, medical practices that have an enormous Medicaid patient base will in general be less productive. One of the essential explanations behind this is that Medicaid repayments are lower than those of business backup plans for most procedures and medicines.

Since the individuals who depend on Medicaid are by definition low-income workers, they won’t be in a situation to get extra income for a medical practice. They will have a diminished monetary capacity to settle on elective therapies, and they will most likely be unable to pay for top brand drugs or other medical services.

Moreover, another monetary concern is that medical practices can’t charge an expense when Medicaid patients miss arrangements. An investigation in 2007 led by the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Orthodontics for over a year showed that twice as many Medicaid patients missed arrangements as non-Medicaid patients — 15.4 percent contrasted with 8.3 percent.

Administrative overhead

Managing Medicaid patients presents a huge managerial overhead. The degree of documentation needed for repayment is far more noteworthy than that needed by business guarantors. Furthermore, there is a necessity for yearly reviews.

Pre-approval demands defer the conveyance of treatment. It is normally important to make a greater number of arrangements for Medicaid patients than for other people. In addition to this, there can be complexities with installments since patients on Medicaid may not completely comprehend their own responsibility for medical expenses. Moreover, these regulatory overheads can affect the number of patients a facility can oblige and can further significantly lessen the net income received by treating Medicaid patients.


Now that you have read this article, you know all about what is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare is a government program for individuals who are either 65 years old or more or have a qualifying disability or medical condition. Medicare Part A and Part B are given by the national government, and Medicare Part C and Part D, while governmentally administered, are given by private insurance organizations.

On the other hand, Medicaid is a state and government program that helps pay health care costs for individuals with restricted salaries and assets, and various programs exist for certain populaces. Medicaid plans change from one state to another yet follow government rules for benefits.

John Otero

John Otero

John Otero is an industry practitioner with more than 15 years of experience in the insurance industry. He has held various senior management roles both in the insurance companies and insurance brokers during this span of time. He began his insurance career in 2004 as an office assistant at an agency in her hometown of Duluth, MN. He got licensed as a producer while working at that agency and progressed to serve as an office manager. Working in the agency is how he fell in love with the industry. He saw firsthand the good that insurance consumers experienced by having the proper protection. John has diverse experience in corporate & consumer insurance services, across a range of vocations. His specialties include Major Corporate risk management and insurance programs, and Financial Lines He has been instrumental in making his firm as one of the leading organizations in the country in generating sustainable rapid growth of the company while maintaining service excellence to clients.

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