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MEDICARE BASICS: ANSWERS TO COMMON QUESTIONS

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1. Medicare Basics: Answers to Common Questions — What’s the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

What’s the difference between Medicare and Medicaid? Medicare and Medicaid (in California, Medi-Cal) are two separate programs with distinct differences. Medicare is a federally run insurance program that serves people primarily over the age of 65, regardless of income. Most people become eligible for Medicare at age 65. The first time you can sign up is during your Initial Enrollment Period, which lasts for a total of seven months. It includes the month you turn 65, and the three months before and after. For the most part, Medicare is the same throughout the United States.


Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that helps pay medical costs for families and individuals — regardless of age — who have limited income and resources. To be eligible for Medicaid, you must meet certain requirements. Some people qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid.


Source: “Medicare & You 2018,” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, accessed at Medicare.gov


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