Should I get Medicare or Medicaid?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 January 2019
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The question of whether to apply for Medicare or Medicaid depends on a variety of factors. In brief, these programs are offered by the United States as a means of providing lower cost or no cost insurance to certain eligible participants. Not all people are eligible for either program, and there is little use applying if requirements that would allow access to these programs aren’t met.

Medicaid is offered jointly by state and federal government, and those commonly eligible for this program meet specific requirements. People must qualify by income, and/or through having various disabilities. There is no age requirement for Medicaid but the federal government and in part each state sets certain tests to determine if a person is qualified to get this insurance.

As to whether it is always wise to try to obtain Medicaid, this really depends on a variety of factors. Medicaid can have some inherent problems and these may include limiting access to certain providers. Generally most people can only go to doctors, nurses, other health professionals or health facilities that accept Medicaid. When people can afford to purchase insurance, for instance through work, it might give them more options for care, making it a better choice. However, having Medicaid is better than having no insurance since it can help cover medical costs that might otherwise be the responsibility of the patient.


Sometimes people without insurance are able to apply for Medicaid called “share of cost.” This means they wouldn’t ordinarily qualify for total coverage, but the government may be able to step in and pay for some costs. For those in dire financial straights, share of cost Medicaid could significantly reduce debt to hospitals, and it can sometimes be used retroactively.

People over 65 may have questions about whether to apply for Medicare or Medicaid. Here there are some key differences. In general, those who are 65 or older and entitled to receive social security or some people below that age who are permanently disabled, are better off participating in Medicare programs. It’s easier to get Medicare because it is not income tested to determine eligibility. Most people get part of it for no cost and then opt to spend money to enhance it by purchasing supplemental insurance because Medicare does not fully cover all services. The rules of the Medicaid program are complex and require making choices and understanding options.

Sometimes no choice exists in apply for Medicare or Medicaid and people over 65 need both. When people are low income, they may not be able to meet the costs of supplemental insurance. Medicaid may help meet these costs, but is again income tested to determine eligibility.

Both of these federal programs are designed to address health care needs and they are paid for by taxes and other employee contributions. Getting Medicaid when needed may be a good choice because it may lower the operating costs of hospitals and medical practitioners by making sure they are paid some money for their services. This scenario is thought better than having providers try to collect on money they won’t be paid or have to choose whether to offer services for free.


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Post 3

I would get Medicaid, honestly. I think Medicaid has better benefits. Of course, anyone has to find if they are eligible for Medicaid. One thing that irks me is that Medicare recipients do not get dental care. I think this is highly unfair. Sure, Medicaid people deserve oral health care, but what about Medicare folks? We pay our monthly premiums. We should be given the option of getting dental care. Everyone should have quality dental care, period. But the government does not care about our oral health.

Our government is very much involved in health care as there is money in it for them. But dental care is not a big system such as our health care, so therefore they

do not reap any benefits, so we are put on the back burner for our oral health care. It shows how greedy our government is. People die all the time from poor oral health. Oral health should be included in our overall health care, period.

Every day I worry am I going to have a stroke, heart attack or a major infection because my oral health is so bad and I can't afford to get dental care. Yes, those things happen, so doesn't that tell everyone that oral health should be included in our over all health. They should not be separated especially when anyone of us can have a heart attack, stroke, etc., from poor oral health.

I know I went overboard and got off the beaten path of your question, but I had to vent about all of us having good oral health care. And the government better get going on getting all of us oral health care. Obama surely gets his Obamacare, so we should get our dental care.

Remember, US citizens have the worst oral health and we all know why. Blame big brother for their greediness.

Post 1

I am on medicare but I have monthly premiums of $100.00 and have to pay additional money for service and medicines, so medicare is never free. as in this article said. Get the facts if you're on medicare. It costs you a premium of a hundred dollars a month and the coverage totally stinks.

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