What’s the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

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Asked July 27, 2010

1 Answer


There are a few differences between these two health care programs. Even though both are associated with government assistance and have similar names, they are applied to different situations. One is reserved for elder care use, and the other is geared more toward women, infants, and disabled persons.

It is possible for one person to qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid, by applying with the respective agencies. Medicaid is even sometimes used to pay Medicare payments. Person who qualify for both types of assistance are termed as "dual eligible."

Medicare is federally managed care for the elderly, that is, persons of 65 years of age or more. In addition to the elderly, Medicare is applied to persons with long-term kidney problems (requiring dialysis, for example), or who are listed as unable to perform ordinary work duties due to an injury or other permanent disability.

Medicaid is applied to aged persons and disabilities, but it is also used to promote health in pregnant women and children under the age of 19. For pregnant women without insurance, Medicaid may be the only available option to obtain prenatal care. Some of the disabilities that are listed under Medicaid include blindness, and those who require nursing home care. Where Medicare does not pay for nursing home fees, Medicaid will. Medicaid is meant to help those who are unable to afford medical care from any other provider, and is targeted at providing vital services among people with minimal financial ability. Medicaid is state managed, and must be applied for separately from Medicare, even though both are managed by government agencies.

Answered July 27, 2010 by Anonymous

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