Medicare and medicaid, both in essence, offer the same things. The structures, however, for these two forms of health insurance are very different. Medicaid is a U.S. government sponsored program primarily offered for low-income individuals and families. Medicaid programs are offered to those who have trouble paying their health care through a dual funding stream between state governments and the US Federal Government.
On the other hand, medicare is indeed a government sponsored health care program, however, it is only available for individuals above the age of 65 years old. People under 65, with certain possibilities can also receive medicare aid. This is the largest difference between medicare and medicaid–medicare is typically offered to the elderly while medicaid benefits are primarily offered to financially struggling families or individuals.
Medicare and medicaid, as a result of their different funding streams, also possess varied eligibility criteria. As a result of a medicaid provider’s state-run status, the criteria associated with eligibility will greatly vary based on location. In addition, because the program is narrowly based on income, the requirements associated with the obtainment of medicaid are more complex, varied and strenuous than medicare benefits.
In contrast, medicare benefits do not vary based on state or income levels, and are available to all U.S. citizens above the age of 65. These differences are attributed to the variation in funding between medicare and medicaid. Medicare benefits are solely funded by the Federal Government, while medicaid is a dual-funded program–states institute the policies but for the most part funding is split between the two groups. In essence, medicare is simplified and medicaid is complex based on the wider population range and varied coverage policies.