Medicare vs. Medicaid

Pamela Kweller RSSA Staff


Medicare and Medicaid – the terms look and sound similar, but they are in fact different. Both programs are run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid and they both provide health insurance to Americans.

Medicare is our country’s health insurance program for people who are 65 or older. It also covers younger people who receive Social Security disability benefits and people who may be suffering from specific fatal illnesses. Just like most insurance policies, Medicare does not cover all medical costs.

Although Medicare is run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, individuals must apply for coverage through the Social Security Administration. And just like Social Security, a portion of payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers are contributed to Medicare.

Medicaid is a separate state-run program that provides hospital and medical coverage for people with low income. Each state has its own rules for Medicaid eligibility.