Medicare vs. Medicaid: What’s The Difference?

Medicare vs. Medicaid: What’s The Difference?

Oct 04 2014

With names so similar, Medicare and Medicaid are often mixed up.

Both programs aim to provide affordable health care options for specific populations, but they are quite different. Medicare vs. Medicaid – here are the differences:

  1. Medicaid is an assistance program.
    Medicare is an insurance program.
  1. Medicaid serves the low-income population at every age.
    Medicare serves individuals over 65 (and some younger individuals with disabilities, as well as dialysis patients).
  1. Patients with Medicaid often pay no part of their medical expense costs and often only a small co-pay.
    Patients with Medicare pay parts of their medical expense costs through deductibles for hospital coverage and a small monthly premium for non-hospital coverage.
  1. Medicaid medical bills are paid from federal, state and local tax funds.
    Medicare medical bills are paid for from trust funds set up and paid into through Social Security.
  1. Medicaid is a federal-state program and because of this, coverage differs from state to state.
    Medicare is a federal program and is basically the same everywhere in the United States.

These are two options to help individuals secure health care if they are part of the specific population group each plan targets.

To learn about your eligibility, visit Michigan.gov or meet with an agent.


Priority Health has HMO-POS and PPO plans with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Priority Health Medicare depends on contract renewal.

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