What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

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Medicare is an insurance program. Medical bills are paid from trust funds paid into by those covered. It primarily serves people aged 65 or more years, whatever their income, and serves younger disabled people and patients on dialysis. Patients pay part of the 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.

Medicaid is an assistance program. Medical bills are paid from federal, state and local tax funds. It serves low-income people of every age. Patients usually pay no part of costs for covered medical expenses. A small co-payment sometimes is required.

Medicaid is a federal-state program. It varies from state to state. State and local governments within federal guidelines run it.


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