Is Medicaid Or Medicare Better


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BBB leaders warn of Medicare & Medicaid scams

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Figuring out which healthcare plan will cover you can be confusing especially if you havent yet filed your disability claim. A local disability advocate can walk you through Medicare vs Medicaid coverage available in your state. Its almost impossible to tell whether youre eligible for healthcare assistance programs without first knowing your individual circumstances and location.

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A Birthday Wish For Medicare And Medicaid: Less Waste And Better Care

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Medicare bill as Vice President Humphrey and Harry S. Truman … both check the time.

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This Saturday, July 30, marked 57 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law as part of his “Great Society.”

For almost six decades, the healthcare entitlements have grown increasingly costly and expansive while delivering subpar care to beneficiaries.

Consider Medicare, the health plan for Americans 65 and older as well as some people with disabilities. Many seniors believe that Medicare is “free” once they retire. They paid thousands in taxes to Medicare over the course of their careers. Now they get the payoff, right?

Wrong. Each year, the average beneficiary spends more than $6,000 on premiums, out-of-pocket costs, and supplemental insurance that covers various services Medicare doesn’t.

Those costs have steadily increased in recent years. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the combined cost of Medicare deductibles and premiums is equal to nearly 20% of the average Social Security benefit â up from just 15% 20 years ago.

Taxpayers are paying more for Medicare, too. Spending on the entitlement increased more than two percentage points faster than GDP between 1980 and 2010. Today, Medicare accounts for one of every five dollars the United States spends on health care â roughly $830 billion in 2020.

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Financing Graduate Medical Education

Congress assigned Medicare a role in financing graduate medical education , under the assumption that GME is a public good and should be supported by the Federal Government. As such, CMS helps to shape the quality and size of the workforce of future physicians. Additionally, CMS policy changes have substantial effects on the financial health of America’s teaching hospitals.

Before the 1980s, Medicare allowed teaching hospitals to be reimbursed for their reasonable costs, including the cost of GME. In the early 1980s, along with the PPS, Medicare began making direct and indirect medical education payments to teaching hospitals. Direct medical education payments are intended to offset the actual cost of employing a resident. The indirect medical education payments offset the higher cost of care at teaching hospitals because of the higher technology, increased testing, and increased severity of illness. Contemporaneous with these payments, residency programs grew. DME funding totaled $2.6 billion in fiscal year 2002, intended to support the salaries and other direct costs of residents, and IME payments totaled $6.2 billion in support . The policy rationale for the indirect payments has been hotly debated, and many believe it should include compensation to hospitals for the greater severity of unmeasured case-mix associated with hospitals with teaching programs.

Opting For Part A Only

What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

Some people choose only to have Medicare Part A coverage so that they dont have to pay the monthly premiums for Medicare Parts B and D. If you still have insurance through a current employer , you can add the other parts later with no penalty.

However, if you decline Parts B and D and don’t have another insurance plan in place, you’ll face a late enrollment penalty when you add the other parts later.

In the past, Medicaid programs typically didn’t offer a lot of choice in terms of plan design. Today, most states utilize Medicaid managed care organizations . If there’s more than one MCO option in your area of the state, you will likely be given the option to select the one you prefer.

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How Much Does Medicaid Original Medicare And Medicare Advantage Cost

Medicaid members generally pay no premium and cost sharing is nominal, according to requirements set by the federal government. Most states dont charge Medicaid members a premium, says Garfield. And copays for services that have cost sharing are as little as $1 to $3, she adds.

Meanwhile, costs for Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage differ. See how they compare in the table below.

Original Medicare
Deductibles vary according to a persons specific plan. There are many plans with no deductible
Out-of-Pocket Costs’ Part A: Coinsurance varies depending on the length of a hospital stay per benefit period. There is a $0 coinsurance for the first 60 daysPart B: There is a 20% coinsurance after youve met your deductible for Medicare-covered services Coinsurance and copayments vary according to plan
Out-of-Pocket Maximum There is no limit to your out-of-pocket costs Out-of pocket costs’ are capped. In 2021, the out-of-pocket maximum is $7,550, though some plans set lower limits. If youre in a plan that allows out-of-network coverage, theres a separate out-of-pocket limit for combined in- and out-of-network coverage of $11,300

What Does Medicare Cost

One difference between Medicare and Medicaid is that Medicare is not free. Both Part A and Part B have monthly premiums, although most people do qualify for premium-free Part A, as mentioned above.

The federal government sets the Part B premium each year. About 95% of people pay this standard premium. However, certain high-income enrollees may pay a surcharge in addition to the standard premium. To see the Part B premium, check out our page about Medicare Costs.

There are four parts to the Medicare program: Part A , Part B , Part C , and Part D . The federal government oversees all four parts.

However, insurance companies themselves offer Part C and Part D plans. These private insurance carriers contract with Medicare to offer the plans to the public. When Medicare beneficiaries like you enroll, Medicare pays the plan to deliver your Medicare benefits.

The government provides guidelines though. This is so youll know that no matter which parts you enroll in, there are basic benefits.

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Can I Select An Insurance Plan For My Medicare And Medicaid Benefits

If you are dual eligible, you are can enroll in a dual eligible special needs plan that covers both Medicare and Medicaid benefits. These plans may also pay for expenses that Medicare and Medicaid dont over individually, including over-the-counter items, hearing aids, and vision or dental care.

Beneficiaries who are dual eligible can change between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage or switch Part D plans at each quarter.

Read more about the Medicaid benefits available to Medicare enrollees.

Josh Schultz has a strong background in Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. He coordinated a Medicare ombudsman contract at the Medicare Rights Center in New York City, and represented clients in extensive Medicare claims and appeals. In addition to advocacy work, Josh helped implement health insurance exchanges at the technology firm hCentive. He also has held consulting roles, including at Sachs Policy Group, where he worked with insurer, hospital and technology clients.

How Does The Acas Medicaid Expansion Affect State Budgets

Medicare vs. Medicaid | Mnemonic for USMLE

Under the ACA, the federal government paid 100 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion coverage from 2014 to 2016. The federal share then dropped gradually to 93 percent in 2019 and will settle at 90 percent in 2020 and each year thereafter. By comparison, the federal government pays between 50 and 76 percent of the cost of other Medicaid enrollees, depending on the state.

Many states and independent analyses have found that the Medicaid expansion has not only helped more than 12 million low-income people gain health coverage but also produced net savings for state budgets. It has done so by allowing states to move people who previously received health services through targeted Medicaid programs financed at the states regular match rate, such as family-planning services and care for certain women with breast and cervical cancer, into the new expansion group, for which the federal government pays nearly all of the cost. And as more low-income uninsured residents have gained coverage, demand for entirely state-funded services that serve the uninsured has declined, such as funding for hospitals uncompensated care costs and for mental health services. States like Arkansas, Colorado, Michigan, and Virginia expect the expansion to produce net budgetary savings in the coming years even though states have had to pay a modest share of the expansion costs since 2017.

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Who Is Eligible For Medicare

People at least 65 years of age who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible for Medicare. Most people eligible for Social Security are also eligible for Medicare. People who are younger than 65 with certain disabilities also qualify, as well as those who are on dialysis or have had a kidney transplant.

How Efficient Is Medicaid

Medicaids costs per beneficiary are substantially lower than for private insurance and have been growing more slowly than per-beneficiary costs under private employer coverage.

Medicaid provides more comprehensive benefits than private insurance at significantly lower out-of-pocket cost to beneficiaries, but its lower payment rates to health care providers and lower administrative costs make the program very efficient. It costs Medicaid much less than private insurance to cover people of similar health status. For example, adults on Medicaid cost about 22 percent less than if they were covered by private insurance, Urban Institute research shows.

Over the past 30 years, Medicaid costs per beneficiary have essentially tracked costs in the health care system as a whole, public and private. In fact, costs per beneficiary grew more slowly for Medicaid than for private insurance between 1987 and 2017, and are expected to continue growing more slowly than for private insurance in coming years, according to the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission.

Moreover, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services , which projected in 2010 before enactment of the Affordable Care Act that Medicaid spending would total $794 billion by 2019, has lowered its projection for 2019 by 21.5 percent to $623 billion, even with the ACAs coverage expansions.

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Medicare Vs Medicaid: How Medicaid Works

Medicaid is a need-based joint federal and state insurance program that covers low-income individuals and families. That said, Medicaid coverage can vary significantly from state to state. Thats because the federal government covers up to 50% of each states Medicaid program costs. This means all remaining Medicaid program costs must be paid for at the state level.

Unlike Medicare, Medicaid isnt available to everyone and it has very strict eligibility requirements. To qualify for Medicaid coverage, you must either already be receiving SSI benefits or fit within a mandatory eligibility group. If your financial resources arent limited enough to qualify for SSI, you may still qualify for state-based Medicaid assistance programs. For more information about the updated Medicaid eligibility requirements under the Affordable Care Act , visit the website.

While each states coverage varies , the federal government requires that there is coverage for the following services as long as theyre deemed medically necessary.

  • X-rays
  • Preventive care for children under 21

What Does Medicaid Cost

Medicare vs. Medicaid: Qualifications, costs, benefits

There are no federal premium requirements for Medicaid because it is coverage designed for people with already low incomes. However, since states administer this program, some states may collect premiums and other cost-sharing payments from beneficiaries.

There are usually no monthly premiums for Medicaid, but beneficiaries may incur low out-of-pocket costs like copays.

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Quality Improvement Organizations And Effectiveness Initiative

In light of skyrocketing costs in Medicare and Medicaid, as well as concerns over fraud and abuse, Congress decided by the early 1970s that closer oversight of the medical care system was necessary. The concern was that excess budgetary costs were related to overuse of medical services, driven by uncontrolled financial incentive systems built into the original legislation. The first attempt to address overuse was the creation of Experimental Medical Care Review Organizations in 1971 . These organizations reviewed health service use in an effort to improve the quality of care. They were housed at the National Center for Health Services Research, and not at CMS.

EMCROs were the prototype for the professional standards review organizations that were established in 1972. Interestingly, the AMA involved itself in the development of the PSROs because they recognized the potential threat of such organizations to physicians’ clinical autonomy . The AMA proposed that the State medical societies serve as the PSROs, thus leaving control over medical practice within the profession. In the end, Congress agreed with the AMA that physicians should perform the reviews, as they were uniquely suited for the role, but decided that State medical societies would not retain the right to provide this service . In fact, PSROs were held accountable by Congress and their contracts could be terminated if they were not fulfilling their role adequately.

Dual Eligible Medicare Advantage Plans

Some private insurance carriers offer a type of Medicare Advantage plan thats called a special needs plan for enrollees with specific chronic conditions and for beneficiaries who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

If someone is dual-eligible, they may be able to enroll in a special needs plan for dual-eligibles if one is available where they live. These are often structured in a way that maximizes the benefit coverage of both Medicare and Medicaid.

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Who Qualifies For Medicaid

Medicaid provides health coverage for families and children, pregnant people, the elderly, people with disabilities and some people with low incomes.

In the 39 states that agreed to implement the latest expansion of Medicaid, most adults under the age of 65 who have an income lower than 138% of the federal poverty level are eligible. In 2021, that amount is $12,880 for an individual and $21,960 for a family of three.

If youre pregnant or have a disability, you can qualify with a higher income, says Rachel Garfield, vice-president of the Kaiser Family Foundation and co-director of its Program on Medicaid and the Uninsured. Children can qualify if their parents income is twice to two-and-a-half times the federal poverty level, she says.

If you live in one of the 12 states that chose not to expand Medicaid, coverage for nonelderly adults is limited to people who have a child, pregnant women or people who have a disability. If youre an adult with no children, you dont have a disability and youre not pregnant, youre not eligible no matter how low your income is, says Garfield.

Information About Medicare And Medicaid Floats Around Constantly Online

Investopedia Video: Medicare Vs. Medicaid

In the media and in brochures. However, because these two programs have very similar names, it can be quite easy to confuse them. Pus, they each have so many official-sounding requirements that determining whether you or a loved one qualifies for one of these services can feel nearly impossible. While both are used for helping Americans pay for health care expenses, these programs have some key differences in coverage and qualification limitations. In this Medicare and Medicaid comparison, you will be able to find out more about these key differences and learn if one or both of the programs could make it easier for you to afford your medical expenses.

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Medicare Vs Medicaid: Compare Benefits

In the context of long-term care for the elderly, Medicares benefits are very limited. Medicare does not pay for personal care . Medicare will pay for a limited number of skilled nursing days following hospitalization no more than 100 days for a minimum of 3 days. Medicare will also pay for some home health care, provided it is medical in nature. In recent years, some Medicare Advantage plans started offering long-term care benefits. These services and supports are plan-specific. But they may include:

  • Adult day care

Whats The Difference Between Medicare Vs Medicaid

Its easy to confuse the Medicare vs Medicaid programs because their names are so similar, although theyre really quite different. Each government programs designed to provide healthcare coverage for elderly and poor Americans. And taxpayer dollars fund both programs but when youre comparing Medicare vs Medicaid coverage, the similarities end there.

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No Referrals Are Required To Use Healthcare Services

When the Kaiser Permanente health plan was launched on July 21, 1945, it put in motion the most enduring health care system in history and became a model for healthcare delivery. In fact, Kaiser has had more 5-star Medicare Advantage plans than any other insurer, but they only operate in a handful of states.

Unfortunately, when the rest of the insurance industry took notice of what Garfield Kaiser was doing, they bastardized his system and created a system of provider networks. I say bastardized because the providers within a plans network are not necessarily coordinated. The Kaiser HMO model coordinates care within a mostly self-contained healthcare system. Thats why it works so well.

With other HMOs, the plans provider network is designed to control costs for the plan. They use a system called capitation. Capitation is an amount of money per patient paid in advance to a physician for the delivery of health care services to a plans members. A capitation agreement includes a list of specific services that must be provided to patients at no additional cost. Services outside of the capitation agreement require a referral.

With Original Medicare, with or without a Medigap policy, a referral is not necessary. If you can get an appointment with your doctor or specialist, Medicare will pay its share, and your Medigap policy, if you have one, will pay its share. Its that simple. There is no gatekeeper.


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