What You Need to Know About Medicare

By: Jody Smith

The federal government created Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. The two programs are paid for with taxpayer funds. But there, the similarities end. Medicare is intended to provide seniors with long-term care. Medicaid extends its support to the poor.

Medicare was begun as Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to give health coverage to the elderly, that is everyone 65 or older. This was extended to include some with disabilities and with end-stage kidney disease in 1972. Medicare is the country's biggest federal health insurance program, covering one out of every seven people. Its raison d'etre was that seniors so often dealt with medical expenses that were much higher than the average American at a time in their lives when their ability to earn money was declining.

Despite Medicare's lofty goals, Medicare does not pay for everything. For instance, it does not pay for the first day of a hospitalization, nor does it pay for dental care, glasses or hearing aids. It does not cover the cost of preventive care. With few exceptions, coverage of long-term care is not provided.

Medicare kicks in for American citizens once they reach the age of 65, through Social Security. It also offers services for people with some types of disabilities. Income is not a factor in terms of qualifying for the program. Hospitalization and medical insurance monies come from deductions from Social Security income, and from payroll taxes. Privately procured supplemental insurance offers more services, and prescription drugs coverage are paid into by participants in the program.

Medicaid is Title XIX of the Social Security Act. It is a joint health care assistance program of federal and state governments, in place for low-income people. It is for those who have no other medical coverage and who can't afford costs on their own. Medicaid is a program of the states and the federal government for low-income Americans. It helps to pay medical, as well as long-term care.

The federal government pays for up to half of every state's Medicaid program costs. The amount of money received by the states is partly determined by the financial affluence of each state. There are actually 50 different Medicaid programs, rather than one national program.

Medicaid is for the poor, so income restrictions apply. Services offered by Medicaid are free for those who qualify. Medicaid is the biggest source of funding for long-term care in the United States.

Between these two programs, seniors should, at least in theory, have some assistance from the government. Seniors of low-income may be eligible for both programs, as dual eligibles.

Jody Smith is a freelance writer for EmpowHER.com.

Sources:

What's The Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid?

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/07/medicare-vs-medicaid.asp#axzz1suddbNDQ

Medicare, Medicaid, and the Elderly Healthcare Consumer

http://allnurses-breakroom.com/geriatrics-aging-elderly/medicare-medicaid-elderly-496438.html

Related Links:

Women Will Benefit from Health Care Reform

http://www.empowher.com/political-issues/content/women-will-benefit-health-care-reform

Better Healthcare for the Poor

http://www.empowher.com/reproductive-system/content/better-healthcare-poor

Understanding Post-Acute Care

http://www.empowher.com/providers/article/understanding-post-acute-care

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