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What is the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid?

Health insurance plans are offered by the government and through your employer. As you get older and reach retirement, you may no longer have coverage through work. Regardless of your age, you should have medical insurance, although it is no longer mandated by the federal government. Both Medicare and Medicaid are governmental programs. Many people hear the terms Medicare and Medicaid and wonder what is the difference between the two.


Medicaid is health care that is managed through the state. It provides medical insurance coverage at little or no cost based on qualifications. Medicaid in Wisconsin covers adults, children, people with disabilities, pregnant women, and seniors. It offers high-quality healthcare coverage, long-term care, and other services that promote physical and mental health and well-being. You may generally qualify for coverage based on income level or other factors.


Medicare is a national federal medical insurance program for those aged 65 and older. Some people with disabilities may also qualify for Medicare. Medicare assists with some of the costs of healthcare. There are different types of Medicare, including parts A, B, C, and D. Part A is basic hospital and inpatient care, and Part B includes doctor visits and outpatient care. Part C combines Parts A and B and usually includes prescription medication costs. Part D is prescription drug coverage.

Can I Get Medicaid and Medicare at the Same Time?

Some people wonder whether they may be eligible to receive both Medicaid and Medicare at the same time. A person can be eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare at once. This is often referred to as dual eligibility. Dual health plans are also called Medicare Advantage plans. They typically include hospital care, medical needs, and prescription drug coverage. You may be eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare if you are over 65 and are low-income or disabled. You can apply for Medicare at any age, as long as you meet the income or disability qualifications.

Applying for Medicaid or Medicare

If you need help with health insurance, you may qualify for Medicaid. When you reach age 65 or if you are disabled, you may qualify for Medicare. Both are available to those who meet the criteria. You can apply for them online. The agency will review your application and may request additional information. They will determine if you qualify for assistance and, if so, the amount of your payments or co-payments. If you are assisting a parent, you will want to complete the application with your parent. You will need to have some basic information, such as the income and source of income for the applicant. If you are unsure whether your parent qualifies, you can review the information online directly through the agency or submit an application to get a determination.

Everyone should have medical coverage, whether through their employer, through a private insurance company, or through the government. You or your parents may require your help with this and with other needs such as a will and trust. Contact us at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. at (608) 784-8310 or online to discuss your needs today.

Published July 17, 2023
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