Because the names sound similar, people often get confused when they discuss the Missouri Medicaid or Medicare program. Although both are government programs, they are not the same. In fact, the two programs are not even related to each other. Chances are good that you will need the benefits offered in one, or both, of the programs at some point in your life. For this reason, it is important to understand what benefits are offered by each program and who is eligible for those benefits.
Both Medicare and Medicaid are funded, at least in part, by the federal government; however, Medicare is also administered at the federal level while Medicaid is administered by the individual states. Both programs are also intended to help participants cover the costs associated with healthcare. That is where the similarities stop for the most part.
The Medicare program is directly attached to Social Security. Medicare is available to anyone who is age 65 or older and a U.S. citizen regardless of income or resources. Medicare may also be available to individuals under the age of 65 if they have a qualifying disability. The Medicare program has four parts:
- Part A–Hospitalization coverage
- Part B–Medical insurance
- Part C–Privately purchased supplemental insurance that provides additional services over and above what parts A and B cover
- Part D–Prescription drug coverage
Parts A and B are paid through by payroll taxes and Social Security income but parts C and D are extra expenses that must be paid for by the participant. Most people are automatically enrolled in Medicare parts A and B when they turn 65.
The Medicaid program is a healthcare program for low income individuals and families. Because the individual states partially fund and completely administer the programs, there will be slight differences in eligibility criteria and benefits among the states. A participant will, however, have to meet the income and resources requirements to qualify in any state. Both resource and income limits tend to be very low.
The Medicaid program covers things such as hospitalization, prescription drugs, and diagnostic or lab testing. Some Medicaid programs cover more than others. The benefits available will vary by state as well as by the group under which a participant qualifies within the state. The elderly, pregnant women, and young children typically receive the most benefits and have the most liberal eligibility criteria.
One significant difference for older Americans is that Medicare will not cover costs associated with long-term care. Medicaid, on the other hand, does cover some of the costs of long-term