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Medicare versus Medicaid

What’s the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

The words “Medicare” and “Medicaid” are so much alike that it’s easy to get them confused. Both are government programs and both help people pay for health care. But that’s where the similarities end.

Medicare is generally for people who are older or disabled. Medicaid is for people with limited income and resources.

The table provides more information about Medicare and Medicaid and how they compare.

What does it mean to be dual eligible?

People who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid are “dual eligible.” If you qualify and enroll in both programs, then sometimes the two can work together to cover most of your health care costs.

For information about dual eligible programs, you can call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213, TTY 1-800-325-0778, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday, or contact your state Medical Assistance or Medicaid office.