by Ralph S. Robbins, CFP
A great deal of confusion surrounds Medicare and Medicaid. They’re often mistaken for one another, but they are two very different programs that provide health care benefits for Americans. While many people believe that participation in these programs is mutually exclusive, the truth is that some seniors do qualify to receive both Medicare and Medicaid coverage. When a Medicare beneficiary also qualifies for Medicaid, they are deemed a “dual-eligible beneficiary” and are entitled to enhanced benefits.
Medicare is a federal health insurance program for seniors age 65 and over and younger individuals who are disabled or have certain chronic illnesses. Americans pay into Medicare through payroll taxes.
Medicaid, on the other hand, is a joint federal and state means-based program that helps low-income individuals with limited resources afford health care. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid can differ widely from state to state. Both Medicare and Medicaid are administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).