Medicare vs. Medicaid

Difference between Medicare and Medicaid

Healthcare is important for all but the cost of healthcare is rising rapidly. This is why government has also made some legal provisions to support the citizens and make healthcare affordable for all. Affordable healthcare Act 2010 is one of such provisions made by US government. Medicaid and Medicare are two very popular healthcare programs which aim to reduce the burden of healthcare and provide support.

Although many people do not realize the difference between these two programs, they are quite different from each other.

Here are some special features of Medicare:

  1. It is program supported by the Federal government and is more about providing social security to the American citizens above the age of 65. People with certain special disabilities and End-Stage Renal disease are also covered under this plan irrespective of their age. In End-Stage Renal disease the patient needs dialysis or kidney transplant and people from all income groups are eligible for taking benefit from this plan.
  2. This program provides coverage for hospitalization, doctor services, preventive services, medical insurance and prescription drugs. Medical insurance is purchased privately and provides supplementary coverage and some additional benefits as well.
  3. People make contribution towards this health insurance program from their salary and they share the cost of Medicare benefits. This includes deductibles, co-payments, premiums and coinsurance.
  4. People above the age of 65 can use this program for their health checkups.
  5. Coverage of prescription drugs has become the part of this program after 2006 because of the increasing cost of the drugs.
  6. This cover does not cover long term care and services like hearing aids etc.

Medicaid is a program which is run by the support of state and federal government. This plan covers the people who have low income and who find it difficult to deal with the medical costs. Federal government provides almost 50 percent of the total expenses on the program and the richer states get it lesser than the less affluent ones.

There are certain criteria that are to be met before anyone gets the benefits of this program. The state government has an upper hand on deciding if someone meets those criteria or not. There may be some expansion in these criteria from 2014. As this program is mainly for the poor the government needs to assess the assets of a person and find out the real needy ones like pregnant woman, elderly people, people with disabilities and children.

Medicaid covers nursing home care, hospital care, hospital care, prescription drugs, home health care and transportation services although the benefits vary across the states. Mental health services for children are also covered under this plan.

After knowing about these two programs we can easily summarize the differences between them. Here are some of them:

  1. Medicare is for all while Medicaid is for economically weaker sections and people with disabilities.
  2. Medicare is supported only by the federal government while Medicaid is funded by state and Federal governments both.
  3. One need to contribute towards Medicare program to get the benefits while it is not so in the case of Medicaid.
  4. Medicaid does not cover many services like that of providing hearing aids etc but all such things are covered under Medicaid.

There may be many other differences as well but ultimately both of these programs aim to provide support and medical care to the common people.