What Is Medicaid

Medicaid is a medical service program that helps individuals and families with low incomes. The federal government is the primary oversight of the medicaid program each state is responsible for the following:

States set their own Medicaid eligibility guidelines. The program is aimed for people with low income, but eligibility also depends on meeting additional requirements based on things such as pregnancy status, age, disability status, citizenship and assets.

It is required that states provide Medicaid services for people who fall under specific categories of need in order for the state to receive matching funds from the federal government. Groups that the federal government considers "categorically needy" for Medicaid include:

It is also possible that states may provide Medicaid to other groups that have similiarities but that are more broadly defined. These include:

Medicaid does not provide medical assistance for all poor persons. In fact, it is estimated that about 60% of America's poor are not covered by the program.

What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

Medicaid is an assistance program. It serves low-income people of every age. Patients usually pay no part of costs for covered medical expenses. A small co-payment is sometimes required. Medicaid is a federal-state program. It varies from state to state. It is run by state and local governments within federal guidelines.

Medicare is an insurance program. Medical bills are paid from trust funds which those covered have paid into. It serves people over 65 primarily, whatever their income; and serves younger disabled people and dialysis patients. Patients pay part of costs through deductibles for hospital and other costs. Small monthly premiums are required for non-hospital coverage. Medicare is a federal program. It is basically the same everywhere in the United States and is run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, an agency of the federal government.