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Is there a difference between Medicaid and Medicare? If so, what’s the difference?

Yes, Medicaid and Medicare are two distinct programs.

Simply put, Medicaid is a poverty program that grants poor and disabled individuals with medical assistance. Most individuals who receive Medicaid qualify for it because they are on Supplemental Security Income (SSI), thereby showing they are poor and disabled. Eligibility for Medicaid may be retroactive up to three months before the date of the Medicaid claim. Medicaid also includes some coverage for limited prescription medication.

Medicare, on the other hand, does not depend on an individual’s financial status. Individuals qualify for Medicare if they have been receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, disabled widow/widower benefits, or disabled adult child benefits for at least 2 years. Medicare typically pays doctors at a higher rate than Medicaid, so nearly all private doctors will accept Medicare patients though not all will accept Medicaid patients. While Part A of Medicare is free, Part B has a standard monthly premium of $99.90 for 2012 and Part D has a monthly premium for prescription coverage.

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