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What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

En español | Because of the similarity in their names, Medicare and Medicaid are often confused, but the two programs are very different:

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people who are age 65 and over, and for younger people who qualify on the basis of disability. The program provides coverage for a comprehensive range of medical services to 57 million people, regardless of their past or current health issues, what they earn, or where they live within the United States. To learn more about Medicare, visit or read the official publication “Medicare & You.” 

Medicaid is a program that is run by each state and provides comprehensive health coverage for people in certain groups who have low incomes and are eligible according to the rules of their state. More than 11 million people qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid at the same time. To learn more about your state Medicaid program, visit To find out if you are eligible for Medicaid, contact your state health insurance assistance program (SHIP).



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