People sometimes refer to Medicare and Medicaid interchangeably without really knowing if they're quite the same or not. In fact, Medicare and Medicaid are actually two very different types of medical plans. The confusion may arise because both begin with the "Medi" prefix, or it could be because there are many people who may qualify for both programs. Keep reading to learn which program is which, and how to tell whether you are eligible for one or both of them.
How to Qualify
The qualification requirements for the two programs is perhaps the biggest difference between them.
It is entirely possible for low-income senior citizens to qualify for both programs, and in fact to participate in both programs at the same time. If a person qualifies for both programs, the Medicaid program will usually pay for the co-payments and premiums associated with Medicare membership. An individual who qualifies for both programs has the fullest possible medical care plan.
The Medicaid Coverage
While both Medicare and Medicaid provide health coverage, the actual coverage can vary quite a bit. Medicaid gives its participants full-scale health coverage. This includes not just doctor and hospital visits but other kinds of coverage that Medicare does not provide. Medicaid covers prescription medications, eye care, and preventive health care. Some Medicaid plans also provide dental care, but this varies by state.
The Medicare Coverage
Medicare is a more limited plan than Medicaid, but it can be expanded to include extra coverage for an additional monthly cost. Medicare is divided into four parts:
Only Part A and Part B are required for those who enroll in Medicare. While Part D is not required, many seniors find it extremely helpful to have a large part of their prescription drugs costs covered. If a participant buys the maximum amount of Medicare coverage, they will come close to the level of Medicaid coverage, but Medicaid remains the more extensive coverage.
If you are low-income and need medical coverage, it makes sense to apply for Medicaid as soon as possible. If you are 65 or over, it is even more important that you get healthcare coverage quickly. Medicare enrollment is free, even if you don't qualify for Medicaid. One (or both!) of these plans can help meet your healthcare needs in the future.Share
8 October 2015