Explaining the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid

Cropped SingleCare logo By | July 29, 2015

What’s the difference between Medicare and Medicaid? And where does SingleCare’s unique approach to healthcare fit into the equation?

Navigating through healthcare options can be a tricky and confusing process — especially for young adults confronting these decisions for the first time. If you’re a member of this demographic, Medicare and Medicaid might be nothing more than names you’ve heard on the news.

So it’s time to take a closer look and see what sets these two apart.

So What Is Medicaid?

Medicaid is an assistance program — it gives low-income individuals and families access to basic healthcare needs, such as hospital stays and visits to the doctor.

Medicaid is a federally established program, but it’s run by state and local governments. So while the general structure of the system is always the same, the details of your coverage will vary depending on where you live.

Generally, Medicaid will cover any adult earning below a certain level of income, typically in the range of $11,000 to $17,000 per year. If you think you might apply for this coverage, check your individual state’s status at to confirm.

And Medicare?

While Medicaid provides direct assistance to economically disadvantaged people of all ages, Medicare is a different kind of program — it operates as an insurance program that looks to the future of all American citizens and longtime residents.

At many jobs, a Medicare tax is taken out with every paycheck, and typically, someone who has worked and paid these taxes for at least ten years is eligible for the program.

You can start receiving Medicare benefits at the age of 62, and once you’re eligible, Medicare will cover the hospital copayment and a percentage of your medical bills and drug costs.

In addition to the elderly, Medicare also covers younger people who need intensive medical care or have disabilities, so check out the official Medicare eligibility calculator to find out if you can apply for the program. Watch out for the Medicare donut hole, though.

Healthcare with SingleCare

Now that we’ve covered the federal options for healthcare, it’s time to discuss a program that may be better suited to your unique situation. SingleCare helps you pay less for healthcare by pre-negotiating rates with local doctors, making it possible for you to receive great medical care at an affordable price.

SingleCare is not insurance, so there are no monthly premiums or deductibles. Instead, SingleCare enables you to pay only for services as you need them. And when you do receive care, you can rest assured that you’ll be getting a great price. There are even services like cosmetic procedures or dental where SingleCare can work in tandem with Medicare or Medicaid.

SingleCare is presently available in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. So if you live in one of those areas, browse through our list of accredited partners to see if SingleCare is right for you. And if you don’t, you can still sign up for an account so we can let you know when we plan to make our way into your area.

(Main image credit: Jamie/flickr)