MHI – Q: What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

Posted by MedEd at MHI
A: Unless you work in the health care field or have taken care of your own or someone else’s medical bills, you probably don’t understand the difference. Think about it – both are federal programs created in 1965 and both start with M-E-D-I. No wonder people are confused!

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people aged 65 and older as well as those who have been approved for disability by the Social Security Administration. Medicare eligibility is not based on income, health or geographic location. If you have questions about your Medicare eligibility, visit or call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.

Medicaid is also a federal program, but it is administered by the individual states. This program is for low-income individuals who are not able to pay for health insurance on their own.

There are income and asset (savings) levels associated with Medicaid. These eligibility requirements vary from state to state. If you are moving your mother who is on Medicaid in a different state to your home state, do not assume she will be qualify for Medicaid in your state. She’d need to go through your state’s Medicaid application process. She can start the process by going to

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