Medicare, which is a Social Security benefit, is available to all American citizens 65 and older no matter what their income. In some instances, people under 65 with certain disabilities are also covered. It consists of four parts:
- Part A — basic hospital, post-hospital nursing home care and home health care.
- Part B — basic doctor and laboratory costs and some outpatient services.
- Part C — access to privately purchased supplemental insurance that pays for services not covered by Part A and Part B.
- Part D — prescription drug coverage.
Unlike Medicare, Medicaid is for the poor only. Medicaid is jointly funded by the federal government and the states, which means each state administers its own Medicaid program. As a result, the program can differ from state to state.
However, in general terms, Medicaid covers comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care. It also covers prescription drugs, glasses, and preventive and diagnostic care.
For those who are low income and over 65, Medicaid can pay Medicare deductibles and Medicare premiums. And because Medicaid is more comprehensive than Medicare, Medicaid for low-income seniors over 65 also fills in the gaps and pays for medical services not covered by their Medicare benefits. Medicaid does the same for people with certain disabilities, no matter what their age.