What are Medicare and Medicaid?

What are Medicare and Medicaid?

Government-run health insurance programs in the United States include Medicare for seniors and Medicaid for low-income people. They were added in 1966 after being legally enacted in 1965 under Titles XIX and XVIII to the Social Security Act of 1935.


Most people who are 65 or older are eligible for Medicare, a series of health insurance programs comprised of four separate but interconnected plans: hospital insurance (Part A), Medicare Advantage (Part C), supplemental medical insurance (Part B), and prescription drug coverage (Part D).

Payroll contributions to Social Security fund the hospital insurance program. It aids with covering the costs of hospital stays, skilled nursing facility stays, and some home care services. The plan covers most of the expense of staying in the hospital for a maximum of 90 days from illnesses.

A “benefit period” refers to when patients are admitted to a hospital or nursing home and when they leave those facilities, usually after 60 days. Medicare will pay for most of a patient’s hospitalization costs after they have paid the initial 60 days (known as the deductible) and the client’s copayment has been paid for the next 30 days (known as the co-insurance).

Following a stay in the hospital, the plan will also cover the cost of 100 days of skilled care in a nursing home if the visit is less than 30 days. Following the first 20 days of a hospital stay, the patient will not be responsible for any costs associated with this nursing care; nevertheless, the patient will be responsible for a copayment for any of the subsequent 80 days.


This means that in any given benefit period, a patient can get up to 90 days of in-hospital treatment and 100 days of skilled nursing. Medicare also pays for hospice care for the terminally sick and for nursing or med tech visits to the homebound.

Once Medicare recipient has spent 60 days before receiving specialized care in a nursing or hospital facility, they are again entitled to coverage. The moment they reenter such a facility begins a new benefit period. Each individual also has a “lifetime reserve” of 60 additional hospital days that could be used at any time (even after the 90 days insured in a benefit period have been exhausted), albeit at a much higher copayment.

Part B of Medicare, health insurance, is offered to all Medicare recipients aged 65 and up and expands upon the coverage provided by the hospitalization plan. Participants in the program pay a standard monthly premium and a minor deductible for all medical expenses.

All Medicare beneficiaries who meet these criteria will have 80 percent of their eligible medically necessary doctor’s and surgeon’s fees, laboratory test and diagnostic costs, and other medically necessary expenses covered by Medicare. As a result, nearly everyone eligible for the hospital plan also enrolls in the supplemental medical program. Contributions from the public as a whole and individual members support the latter.

Private insurance firms are responsible for administering Medicare Advantage (Part C) with government funding. Medicare Advantage plans are private insurance companies that contract with the federal government to provide medical benefits to Medicare beneficiaries. These plans must include all of the original Medicare benefits except hospice care.

Individuals without Parts A or B of Medicare are not eligible for Part D, which provides prescription drug coverage. While plans differ in scope and price, they are all required to meet the minimum requirements established by Medicare. Most prescription plans feature a “doughnut hole,” a coverage vacuum between when the deductible is met and when co-insurance or out-of-pocket costs become necessary.

Catastrophic coverage kicks in after a specified annual maximum has been reached, regardless of how much the insurer and the participant have spent for eligible drugs to reduce out-of-pocket expenses.

Medicare’s enactment in 1965, during President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration, was the climax of a legislative struggle that began under President Harry S. Truman and lasted for the better two decades. Coverage was expanded for those who had been handicapped for a lengthy period. It also included those with chronic kidney illness, thanks to changes to the program enacted in 1972.

Because of the program’s unexpected and rapid expansion, the federal government began enacting cost-containment policies in the 1970s, the most notable of which was a 1983 law establishing uniform payment rates for treating individuals with a specific diagnosis. Section C entered into force in 1999 after being adopted in 1997. Part D was added later, and the whole thing was reorganized in 2003, with coverage beginning in 2006.


Medicaid is for low-income individuals and families under 65 and those over 65 who have used up all their Medicare coverage. The federal and state government both contribute to the program. Medicaid must be made available to all people receiving public aid in states participating in the program.If you want to learn more about Medicare and Medicaid, you should visit this website.

Besides this, and within broad federal standards, each state determines the conditions that can lead to program enrollment. Medicaid is available to those whose earnings and assets fall below a particular amount.

The national govt covers about half to eighty percent of each state’s Medicaid expenditures. The plan pays for various medical services, including hospital stays, doctor visits, skilled nursing, family planning, home health care, and diagnostic screenings.

Like Medicare, Medicaid swiftly expanded above initial projections, prompting the federal government to implement the first of many cost-containment measures in 1972. In the 1980s, many doctors refused to see Medicaid patients due to the program’s meager payments.

Significant changes were made to both Medicaid and Medicare due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), passed in 2010. For instance, the “doughnut hole” in Medicare prescription coverage is intended to be gradually closed until its ultimate elimination in 2020. Medicare payroll taxes for the wealthy and Part C subsidies from the federal government were slated to rise in 2013.

A vital feature of the ACA was an increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates to meet those of Medicare by 2013. It was expected that roughly half of the 32 million people who gained coverage due to the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid would end up using it. This is because, by 2014, everyone with an income of less than 133 % of the poverty threshold was eligible.

After a short grace period during which new enrollees would have no out-of-pocket expenses, the federal government’s contribution was set to decrease gradually. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of PPACA’s Medicaid expansion (5-4). The bill prevented Congress from penalizing states that declined to expand Medicaid by withholding federal funding for existing participants.

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