How Is Medicaid Different From Medicare?

The Federal government created both Medicaid and Medicare to assist some Americans with the high cost of health care. Beyond the fact that both programs focus on providing health care, the two are different in many ways.


Medicare is a program designed for Americans over the age of 65. You must enroll when you are eligible unless you still have health care coverage through your employer. If you do not enroll on time, you may face a penalty fee.

To be eligible for Medicare you must have paid enough into the program through taxes taken from your paycheck. You can also get more information about Medicare at

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Medicaid is health care insurance for many poverty-level Americans. This program can be used for anyone of any age and is especially focused on providing care to young children, pregnant women, and those with disabilities.

Individuals with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income may also be eligible for Medicaid.

Some people are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. This includes those over 65 with little or no income. For them, Medicaid will help cover costs that Medicare leaves behind. Medicare may also be available for those who receive Medicaid for disability, even if they have not reached age 65.


Medicaid coverage differs from one state to another, but it usually covers most or all costs of medical care. There is no premium for Medicaid coverage.