Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are age 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD). It is funded entirely by the federal government.
Medicare Part A covers in-patient hospital care, skilled nursing home care, hospice care and some home health care. Medicare Part B covers doctor’s services, preventive services and most out-patient services. Medicare Part C refers to Medicare Advantage Plans which will be covered in a subsequent blog entry. Medicare Part D provides prescription drug coverage.
Medicaid is a needs-based health insurance program for certain people with low income. It is a means-tested program that is jointly funded by the various state and federal governments, and it is managed by each state. People served by Medicaid are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, including low-income adults, their children, and people with certain disabilities. Poverty alone does not necessarily qualify someone for Medicaid. Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health-related services for people with limited income in the United States.
Most states administer Medicaid through their own programs. In Pennsylvania the Medicaid Program is often referred to as Medical Assistance.