Healthcare services are vital part of society. They provide necessary care to those who are sick and preventative services so people can stay in optimum health. Many Americans receive healthcare coverage for themselves and their families through an employer. However, not every family is offered private health insurance, and many families are unable to afford healthcare. Low-income individuals need access to healthcare benefits in order to stay healthy. Medicaid and Medicare are two health coverage programs that provide low-income individuals and families with the healthcare they need.

Medicaid is a state and federally-funded healthcare program that provides healthcare coverage and assistance to needy individuals and families. People of all ages qualify for Medicaid, from newborn babies to senior citizens. Benefits under Medicaid healthcare coverage include access to doctor visits, prescription drugs, lab tests, x-rays, hospital care, eye care, vision care, dental care, and rides to healthcare appointments as need. To qualify for the program, an individual or family must meet a certain income requirement, unless the individual has a disability. Participants do not have to pay for any healthcare expenses covered by the program. Those who do not meet the income requirements and choose to “buy-in” to the Medicaid program are required to pay a monthly fee for insurance and co-pays may be required for medical services. Medicaid is run by state governments that follow federal guidelines.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for senior citizens that are 65 years of age or older. Younger people with disabilities or individuals on dialysis may also qualify for the Medicare program. There are several different components to Medicare health coverage that provide senior citizens with necessary health services. Medicare Part A covers hospital care, nursing home care, and hospice care. Medicare Part B covers doctor visits, outpatient care, necessary medical supplies, and preventative care. Medicare Part C is provided by an outside, private healthcare company that works with Medicare to provide participants with all the healthcare services offered in Medicare Part A and Part B. Medicare Part D involves coverage of necessary prescription drugs. Participants are required to pay premiums for Medicare coverage, unless an individual receives Social Security benefits. If an individual receives Social Security benefits, Medicare is then paid for through their Social Security benefit funds that he or she has accumulated through working and paying taxes.

Medicaid and Medicare are both healthcare programs that are offered to people that do not have health insurance and need coverage in order to access necessary health services. Although the two programs have key differences, the goal they share is to produce healthier individuals, families, and communities. Medicaid and Medicare provide those in need with the necessary tools to a healthier life and a brighter future. These programs allow low-income and disabled individuals to thrive, with a focus on healthy living, preventative care, and access to the healthcare services needed in order to stay well.