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Medicare and Medicaid - Differences you ought to know

Most people above 65 years of age, looking for health insurance, have two basic options in hand- Medicare and Medicaid. Despite being similar in the fact that both offer health coverage to the aged, the programs are much different from another. And if you happen to be in the senior age group, you ought to know what each one is all about, before making your final choice. The very first thing is the fact that Medicare is health insurance while Medicaid is an assistance program. But does the difference end there? Well, of course no. Below are given some major differences between Medicare and Medicaid.

The two programs share a single similarity of the fact that both are products of the Social Security Act. Contrastingly, the differences between the two are far greater in number. While Medicare is a health insurance option that comes solely and directly from the Federal Government, Medicaid is more of a joint effort between the Federal Government and the individual states that comprise the nation. How people become eligible for each of the two plans is also different. While Medicaid, being a predominantly state effort, has different criteria of eligibility from state to state, Medicare is a program that allows senior citizens, people with disabilities under special circumstances (having met certain guidelines) and those at the last stages of renal failure.

Medicare health insurance is divided into two parts- Part A and Part B. Part A Medicare is available for every person who reaches the retirement age of 65 (as stated by the Social Security Act). People who become eligible for Medicare Part A do not have to pay anything because they keep contributing towards this variety of senior insurance throughout their working lives. Part A offers coverage for inpatient hospital services and long germ care benefits like hospice care and home health care. Part B on the other hand is an optional insurance choice for senior citizens and those who attain eligibility under special conditions. This category of Medicare insurance offers coverage for outpatient services, doctor visits, ambulance services and other special areas like durable medical equipment. Enrollment under Part B requires the concerned persons to pay a premium on a monthly basis, an amount that gets deducted from benefits derived from Social Security. Both Part A and Part B remain the same throughout the country since they are formulations of the Federal Government.

The Medicaid assistance program, unlike Medicare health insurance, applies to people of all ages, ranging from children to adults and even seniors. While Medicare does not pay heed to the aspect of income eligibility, Medicaid is a program specially created to cater to the needs of low- income individuals and families. Many people who become eligible for Medicare also turn eligible for Medicaid, but these are strictly special cases. In this case, eligible persons may expect Medicaid to pay their deductibles and co- payments.

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