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What's the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

Who is this for?

Learn more about how Medicare works.

If you're new to Medicare, this page will help you understand the differences between Medicare and Medicaid.

It’s not surprising people mix up Medicare and Medicaid. For one thing, they’re both run by the government. It doesn't help that their names only differ by three letters. 

Here's an explanation of how they're different: Medicare is related to age and disability. Medicaid is related to income.

Medicare covers people age 65 and older. It also covers people with certain disabilities who are on Social Security. It’s run by the federal government.

Medicaid covers people and families who fall below a certain income bracket. It’s run jointly by the federal government and state and local governments.

Some people are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. If you think you're eligible for both, learn more about how Medicaid can help you pay for Medicare.