January 20, 2021
A 65-Year-Old's Guide to Medicare vs. Medicaid

A 65-Year-Old's Guide to Medicare vs. Medicaid

Ah, the joys of figuring out your health insurance! With such similar names and lots of information being thrown your way, it is easy to feel a bit overwhelmed when it comes to your healthcare.

Especially after you have signed up for one plan, you may be left wondering if there are more things that you should be doing to keep your Medicare coverage in tip-top shape.

Well, that’s what we’re here for! At Medicare Allies, we take pride in helping seniors stay informed and empowered regarding their Medicare coverage.

If you’re over 65 and wondering about Medicaid vs. Medicare, keep reading!

What Is the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid?

You have probably heard these two very similar-sounding words thrown around quite a bit. It can be confusing to know which one people are referring to — or if there is even a difference.

Simply put, Medicare is an insurance program, while Medicaid is an assistance program. Medicare is insurance that you can only access if you are over the age of 65, or you have a qualifying disability or condition. 

Medicaid is financial assistance that is available to low-income people of all ages, abilities and health statuses.

While Medicare covers part of your healthcare costs, Medicaid should cover most, if not all, of your medical expenses.

Do I Make Too Much Money to Get Medicaid?

In order to be eligible for Medicaid, you have to be in a certain income bracket.  Because of the financial assistance that the program offers, the coverage is usually reserved for people and their families who make under a certain amount of money per month.

Medicaid is a dual state and federal program, so whether or not you make too much money to get on Medicaid will be determined by your state’s guidelines. These factors are affected by family size, income, and disability.

Low-income families and individuals that are receiving assistance from Social Security are examples of people who typically qualify for Medicaid.

If you are wondering if you make too much money to add Medicaid into your healthcare coverage, contact us now to get in touch with an agent.

Is Medicaid Better Than Medicare?

This is a difficult question to answer, because it is really comparing apples to oranges.

While these two programs sound very similar — and they both provide healthcare coverage — they are very different. Medicare is health insurance coverage, while Medicaid is an assistance program.

Because of that difference, fewer people are able to qualify for Medicaid, because it is primarily for people with limited economic resources.

Medicaid does tend to cover more expenses, but Medicare offers a variety of plans that you can stack to create the best possible coverage for you. Each coverage option will be different per state for both of these programs.

Simply put, each program covers different things and the out-of-pocket costs are dependent on your state’s rules.

To find out what is right for you, contact your agent today.

Can I Have Medicare and Medicaid At the Same Time?

If you meet certain criteriayes!

This is called dual eligibility. There are several levels of assistance that can be applied if you qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid.

If you think you are able to qualify for Medicaid and already have Medicare, it is definitely something worth exploring, as it can significantly decrease your healthcare costs.

While Medicare can only be signed up for during the Annual Enrollment Period, Medicaid can be applied for at any time.

Who Pays First – Medicare or Medicaid?

This is pretty straightforward – if you have Medicare and Medicaid, Medicare pays first and Medicaid pays second.

It’s always a great idea to read up on the order of payments if you have multiple coverage platforms. That way, you never have to be blindsided by timeframes or dollar amounts.

Do I Need Medicare Supplement Insurance If I Have Medicare and Medicaid?

If you have Medicaid and Medicare, you do not need Medicare Supplement insurance, otherwise referred to as Medigap.

If you are dual-eligible, you should have most, if not all, of your healthcare costs covered. If someone contacts you and tries to persuade you to purchase a Medigap plan while you already have Medicare and Medicaid, be wary.

Except for very rare circumstances, it is actually illegal to sell someone a Medigap plan when they already have Medicare and Medicaid.

Whenever you are discussing your insurance coverage, it is important to talk to an agent that you trust. Your health and security are a huge priority, so don’t be afraid to do your research.

Better yet, feel free to give us a call to make sure that everything is in order. We are here to help.


Medicare vs. Medicaid is one of the most common questions that agents receive. Individual plans and requirements differ per state, so if you have questions, you know who to call!

Luke Hockaday
Luke Hockaday
Luke Hockaday is a Customer Success Rep here at Senior Allies. Luke has been helping Medicare-eligible clients with their insurance and retirement-planning needs since 2011. Luke is passionate about 3 things, and 3 things only: senior insurance, football, and food!

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