Medicare and Medicaid are both federal health insurance programs. Medicare is insurance for Seniors and people with ESRD or ALS. Medicaid is for low-income children and adults.[1][2]

With the above said, some people with disabilities and low-income elderly Americans may be “dual eligible” for both Medicare and Medicaid and covered under both programs.

Both Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965 under Lyndon Johnson and authorized by Title XIX of the Social Security Act.

Medicare was originally intended for seniors. The idea is that people would pay into the program during their working years and then get health insurance later in life.

Today Medicare has been expanded to cover people with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and includes some supplemental health insurance options (although “Original Medicare,” Parts A and B, still exists).

Medicaid was originally designed to provide care for very low-income individuals.

Medicaid was expanded to include children and families under a program called CHIP and eligibility for individuals was expanded in many states by state legislation (especially under the Affordable Care Act).


  1. What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid? HHS.Gov.
  2. The Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid.

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