Medicare Versus Medicaid
Both Medicare and Medicaid help patients cover the cost of healthcare through government aid. With the rising costs of healthcare, it is crucial to understand your loved one’s options for assistance. Medicare is a program funded by the federal government. Medicaid is funded through a combination of federal and state aid. But the differences don’t stop there. Read on to discover which program best fits your loved one. They may even be able to benefit from both!
Medicare versus Medicaid: What is Medicare?
The main aim of Medicare is to provide financial assistance to help cover healthcare costs for the elderly. It is an insurance program paid for in part by Social Security. In order to receive Medicare, your loved one must be 65 years or older and a U.S. citizen. There are no income eligibility requirements; the program is open to people of all means. In cases of specific disabilities, those under 65 may even be eligible to receive benefits.
Medicare typically covers the cost of hospitalization or care received at a medical facility, such as a skilled nursing facility. Medicare also helps offset the cost of other medical care, such as lab work and medical appointments, although a monthly premium applies. Seniors can even opt for prescription drug coverage and coverage of other medical services not typically covered by Medicare. A monthly premium and/or co-pay is necessary to secure these extra benefits.
Medicare Versus Medicaid: What is Medicaid?
The main aim of Medicaid is to provide financial assistance to cover healthcare costs for low-income people of varying ages. Rules for eligibility vary by state, so it is extremely important to know your own state’s requirements. What is actually covered by Medicaid varies by state, but typically the following services fall under the Medicaid umbrella:
- Hospitalization and nursing services
- Laboratory services, including the cost of x-rays
- Costs associated with nursing home care, whether in a facility or at home
- Preventative care such as vaccinations, colonoscopies, and mammograms
Medicaid is especially ideal for low-income elderly who need long-term care, since that coverage is not generally provided through Medicare. Medicaid services are usually payed for in full, but sometimes a small co-payment is required.
Keep in mind that, depending on their income, your loved one may qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. This is called being “dual-eligible”. It means that most of your loved one’s health care costs can be covered by government aid.