Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Medicare vs. Medicaid

By: Li Bin Chen

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people age 65 and older, certain people under 65 with disabilities and certain people with kidney disease. Every senior who has paid into the Medicare system during their working years is eligible for Medicare. Medicaid, which is administered by each individual state, is a need based program of health coverage for certain people with low incomes or very high medical bills. While the eligibility for Medicare depends on age or disability only; eligibility for Medicaid depends on age, disability or family status and on an individual’s (or family’s) income and resources. To qualify for Medicaid, your family needed to be in the low income bracket or having trouble affording the medical bills but Medicare disregarding the individual asset of the person.

There are two "parts" to Medicare Part A and a Part B. The "A" part pays for hospital visits while the "B" part picks up part of your outpatient doctor visits and some other medically related services. And Medicaid benefits are paid directly to the provider of services without the individual having to pay anything out of pocket first. Most of us are fairly familiar with the Medicare program. We either has used it to pay for hospital and doctor visits, or our parents/grandparents have. Regardless, everyone has seen the deduction on their paycheck. Often Medicaid is view as a needs-based social welfare or social protection program rather than a social insurance program.

Did you know that Medicaid is also the program that provides the largest portion of federal money spent on health care for people living with HIV. Typically, poor people who are HIV positive must progress to AIDS before they can qualify under the "disabled" category. More than half of people living with AIDS are estimated to receive Medicaid payments.





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