What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

Please explain it to me. Thanks!

A good little summary in easy to read table format:


I haven’t read the aforementioned summary, but Medicare is generally given to citizens of retirement age, regardless of income. Medicaid is income based, and has no age qualification.

The link says it all. Medicaid is a state provided (with federal oversee) benefit while Medicare is provided by the Federal Government. Medicare usually (but not always) is limited to those who have attained full retirement age (currently 65 and two months, but rising); while Medicaid is for the indigent, no matter the age or work background. In order to be eligible for Medicare you must be “fully covered” under the Social Security entitlement provisions. If you are not, you will not be entitled to Medicare.

Medicare is not limited to retirees. If you are “disabled” (as that term is defined by the Act and Regulations) and have been entitled to disability benefits for two years, you also will be eligible. In addition, if you have receivee widow’s or widower’s benefits for two years, you also will be eligible.

So, Medicare is for the “disabled” or “fully retired.” Medicare is for the indigent. If you are “disabled” and also meet the Medicaid requirements, you will be asked to apply for Supplemental Security Income, which is the federal program for those who are “disabled” or age 65 and over and who are not eligible for Medicare.


Insert “benefits” in place of “Medicare” in the last line above. If you are on SSI you are not eligible for Medicare benefits, but will get health benefits thru Medicaid. SSI gives you a monthly benefit and you must seek that before you get Medicaid (if you are possibly eligible) as that would reduce the state’s obligations.

The only way I can keep those two straight is:
MedicAID = AIDto dependent children

MediCARE = CARE of the elderly

Medicaid is not aid to dependent children, necessarily. An adult applies for Medicaid benefits from the state government. This adult may be eligible to receive additional benefits for any children, but the adult is the one applying. It is a state sponsored entitlement. It is aid for the indigent.

Medicare is not, necessarily, care for the elderly, as I explained above and as the links state. Moreover, you have to be fully insured to be eligible for this entitlement. It is care, or aid, for the elderly (if "fully insured’), disabled, and those entitled to widow’s or widower’s benefits. The state has nothing to do with this.

As an aside ,not highjack, Social Security was never meant (per my father) to pay disability/medical care-it also pays dependents of the disabled. Part of the reason it is or will soon be broke.

In Cal. Medicaid is called MediCal- so easy to remember that is a state program. If one is recipient of both- the insurance is referred to as Medi-Medi by providers.

Initially it did not (when first enacted in 1936 or 1937). Disability benefits came later. IIRC, 1972, but I’d have to look it up, and I’m too lazy. What’s more, I don’t care. :slight_smile: Medicare was even more recent. Supplemental Security Income (for those who are not qualified because of earnings) is the most recent, IIRC.

Disability benefits and Medicare indeed cause the gvt mucho pesos, but esp. Medicare. Medicare pays much more than hospital and doctor claims. If qualified (a prior hospitalization for at least 3 days), it will pay for nursing care, home health aides, skilled nursing care, etc. And home health care can run into much money, with daily visits by both nurses and nurses’ aides. That is why there is much discussion about new legislation limiting the reach of Medicare.

Oh, I forgot to mention some of the very high expenses of Medicare: physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and other sundry and miscellaneous therapies too numerous to list. :slight_smile:

“…Oh, I forgot to mention some of the very high expenses of Medicare: physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and other sundry and miscellaneous therapies too numerous to list…”

Those dang parents! Why don’t they do the world a favor and just drop over. I mean, once you’ve moved out on your own, who need 'em? Especially when they’re too old and feeble for babysitting. KnowwhatImean?

Or like my pal says about reserved parking spaces for disabled people: “So why should quadriplegics get all the breaks??”

The facetiousness of the last post aside, many of those persons who need various therapies are not the elderly, but younger persons on disability benefits. If you are in a car wreck and suffer disabling injuries (lasting over a year), you will be entitled to benefits and Medicare (if your injuries last over two years), and in which case you would be in need of much therapy. Whether you think the government should be responsible for the payments of that or not, the expenses are a real drain on the reserves, and Medicare, in general, is very expensive for the government.