What Is the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid?

Jackie Bedard
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People often get confused between Medicare and Medicaid, and it’s understandable. The names sound so similar, so let’s talk about that a little bit. Medicare is an entitlement program. You paid employment taxes while you were working, and at age 65 — it’s a program that essentially help you pay health insurance — it helps to pay for trips to the hospital or doctor’s office. Because there may be things that may not be covered, most people might purchase a Medicare Supplement Plan to provide some additional coverage for doctor’s visits or things that aren’t covered under the base Medicare coverage. So think of Medicare as healthcare. Medicare is generally short-term care. Like I said, it’s that visit to the doctor’s office or hospital.

Medicaid is a need-based program, and there are several different Medicaid programs out there, but the most common we talk about in our office is Medicaid assistance for nursing home care. That is long-term care in a nursing home. So for Medicaid since it’s a need based program, you have to be both medically eligible and financially eligible in order to get assistance from that program.

If you would like to learn more, then download our book The Ultimate Guide to Understanding How to Pay for Nursing Home Care in North Carolina.