Medicare and Medicaid are similar in that both provide medical coverage. Frankly, the coverage under Medicaid is a broader kind of coverage, but I’ll come back to that in a moment. Medicare is available to individuals who have either reached age 65 or are disabled, have paid into the Social Security system, and are collecting Social Security, at which point, 25 months later, they’re entitled to Medicare. Medicare comes in different parts. It’s funded differently. There are deductibles associated with Medicare. Most people, frankly, buy a supplementary kind of coverage to cover some of what Medicare will not pay. Almost everybody takes Medicare. All physicians, just about, take it, unless they’re highly specialized or they’re plastic surgeons.
Medicaid is the medical coverage that’s available to individuals who have not paid into the system, who are poor or disabled. Medicaid coverage includes drug coverage. The problem with Medicaid is there are many physicians who won’t accept Medicaid. The reason they won’t accept it is because the reimbursement rate is so low. Medicaid is most often funded both through the federal government and through the states. If your state is one that doesn’t fund a great deal, then the reimbursement rate is lower and the disincentive is higher for physicians to accept Medicaid. Medicaid comes with SSI coverage or welfare.