What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

They may have similar sounding names, but Medicare and Medicaid are two distinctly different medical insurance programs.


  • State governed
  • Low-income seniors over 65
  • Low-income pregnant women
  • Low-income vision-impaired or otherwise disabled people


  • Federally governed
  • Covers individuals over the age of 65
  • Covers individuals unable to work due to permanent disability
  • Covers individuals with kidney disease

People who qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare are considered dual eligible. To determine if you’re eligible for either, contact your local Social Security Administration office for Medicare and your state’s Medicaid agency separately.

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