How do Medicare and Medicaid differ?

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Medicare and Medicaid are government programs that provide health coverage. Although the names are similar, the function of each is different.

Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides health care coverage to those who have a low income. The programs associated with Medicaid serve millions of families, children, pregnant women, adults without children, seniors and people living with disabilities.

Medicare covers medical tests, items and services for those who are 65 and older and have paid into the system through the payroll tax. It also provides assistance to younger people who have a severe disability.

Medicare is divided into four parts. Part A is hospital insurance while Part B is medical insurance not covered in Part A. Part C is purchased through private health insurance companies as additional coverage. Part D is a prescription drug plan.

Although the programs often serve different groups of people, some qualifying individuals receive dual coverage from both.

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Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.
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