You’ve probably heard the terms “Medicare” and “Medicaid” mentioned quite a bit when talking about healthcare, but — like many Americans — unless you’re actually on either of these programs, there’s a good chance you’re not entirely sure what each program is, or what the difference is.
Not to worry; we’ve got you covered. In many respects, Medicare and Medicaid are similar healthcare programs. They were both created in 1965 as part of President Johnson’s commitment to social reform. In addition, they are both designed to help Americans afford medical care. After that, though, certain differences begin to emerge.
Medicare is a program designed to provide health insurance for all Americans who are 65 or older. It also provides healthcare for people with severe disabilities. In both situations, Medicare is available to everyone who qualifies, regardless of their income. Patients who are on Medicare pay for some of their medical costs through deductibles and small premiums (in some cases). Medicare is run by the federal government, and is basically the same wherever you go in the country.
Medicaid, on the other hand, was specifically created to assist those who have a very low income and limited resources. Because of this, it’s much harder to qualify for Medicaid benefits. Medicaid is run by both the federal government as well as individual states, so qualifying for benefits can vary depending on where you live. Once you qualify for medicaid benefits, though, you typically pay nothing out of pocket.
How do you qualify for Medicaid?
To qualify for Medicaid benefits, the first and most important thing to do is provide evidence of your financial situation. Since Medicaid is an income-based resource, it’s relatively easy to know if you are eligible. To do so, simply go to the Medicaid website to get the process rolling. Here you can find specific information on each state’s eligibility requirements, and you can begin your application procedures.
If you qualify, you’ll be covered for a wide range of healthcare options, including doctors visits, hospital stays, long-term nursing home care and more. About the only things not covered by Medicaid are prescription drugs. So, if you do qualify for Medicaid benefits, you can look forward to good, high-quality health coverage.
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