Medicare and MedicaidMedicare vs Medicaid. What is the difference? Medicare and Medicaid are government programs that help people with their healthcare cost. Since the programs have similar-sounding names, many people are confused about program eligibility and coverage. In essence, Medicare is an insurance program that helps pay hospital and medical care for people age 65 and older and in certain cases people under 65 with specific disabilities while Medicaid is a program for low-income people.

Original Medicare 

Medicare is available to all U.S. citizens 65 years of age or older and may cover people with certain disabilities. It is available to people regardless of income. There are two basic parts to original Medicare.

  • Part A Inpatient hospital care
  • Part B Doctor and outpatient care.

Note that there are other plans offered by private companies that have been approved by Medicare to cover the gaps in original Medicare and to provide prescription drug coverage.


Medicaid is a federal program that is funded by both federal and state governments for low-income individuals and their families. Each state has different rules about applying for Medicaid and eligibility requirements.

The program is designed to help low-income individuals and families that meet other eligibility requirements such as women who are pregnant, people over 65, parents or adults caring for children, and the disabled, to name a few. Medicaid eligibility varies by state so people need to check with their state for their specific eligibility requirements.

To read or download the government fact sheet click here.

To read my article on the basics of Medicare click here.

Medicare Explained in Plain English