Medicare Medicaid
Who Is Eligible Medicare covers almost everyone 65 or older, certain people on Social Security disability, and some people with permanent kidney failure.

Medicaid covers low-income and financially needy people, including those over 65 who are also on Medicare.

Who Administers the Program Medicare is a federal program whose rules are the same all over the country. Medicare information is available at your Social Security office.

Medicaid is administered by the 50 states; rules differ in each state. Medicaid information is available at your local county social services, welfare, or department of human services office.

Coverage Provided Medicare hospital insurance (Part A) provides basic coverage for hospital stays, post-hospital nursing facility stays, and home health care.

Medicare medical insurance (Part B) pays most basic doctor and laboratory costs, and some out-patient medical services, including medical equipment and supplies, home health care, and physical therapy.

Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) pays some of the costs of prescription medications.

In many states, Medicaid covers services and costs Medicare does not cover, including prescription drugs, diagnostic and preventive care, and eyeglasses.
Costs to Consumer You must pay a yearly deductible for all three parts of Medicare.

Under Part A you must also pay hefty copayments for extended hospital stays.

Under Part B, you must pay 20% of doctors' bills and sometimes an additional 15%. Part B also charges a monthly premium.

Under Part D, you must pay a monthly premium and 25% of your prescription costs after you meet the deductible. Part D also has a coverage gap during which you must pay all your prescription costs. In 2006, the gap begins when your total prescription costs reach $2,250 and ends when your costs reach $5,100.

Medicaid can pay Medicare deductibles and the 20% portion of charges not paid by Medicare. Medicaid can also pay the Medicare premium.

In some states, Medicaid charges consumers small amounts for certain services.