Many seniors, and their loved ones, share confusion over the differences between Medicare and Medicaid.  As retirement approaches, it becomes more and more important to understand your healthcare options, so that any costs associated can be included in your overall retirement planning.  Here is an explanation of each:


Medicare is a federal health insurance program.  All of us and our employers pay a percentage of our earnings into FICA – the Federal Insurance Contributions Act – which goes towards funding Medicare.  It provides medical services to people over the age of 65, certain younger people with disabilities and people with End-Stage Renal Disease, regardless of their income, but it is not free.  Patients pay deductibles for hospital stays and monthly premiums for the health care services they wish to receive.

Medicare is available in parts, some of which require the recipient to pay additional premiums.  Part A covers hospital bills, Part B covers medical insurance, part C is the part of Medicare that allows private health insurance companies to provide Medicare benefits and Part D covers prescriptions.


Medicaid is also a federal program, but it provides financial healthcare assistance for those with lower incomes, regardless of age.  It is based on need, funded through federal, state and local tax funds, and not available to everyone over the age of 65 like Medicare is.  Depending on the state you live in, Medicaid may pay all of your covered medical expenses or it may require a co-pay.  To find out the regulations in your state, and whether or not you qualify, contact your state Medicaid office.

Even though the service is limited to those with lower incomes, Medicaid covers a wide spectrum of services.  In addition to people over the age of 65, it can also cover people with disabilities, pregnant women, children, and the parents of eligible children.

Some people may have both Medicare and Medicaid because Medicaid may help to cover some services that Medicare cannot, like long-term care.  For additional information visit, or to learn more about Primrose and how we can assist you with this and other retirement planning details, visit us at