Medicaid and Medicare are two programs provided by the federal government that provide medical and health-related services to citizens of the United States. They were both created when the Social Security Act was amended in 1965. Both programs are managed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Let’s take a closer look at the difference between Medicare and Medicaid in Arkansas.
Medicare is essentially an insurance program available to people over the age of 65 regardless of their income, younger people who are disabled and patients on dialysis. Through this program, patients pay a portion of the costs for medical treatment through deductibles. Small monthly premiums are required for non-hospital coverage. Medicare benefits are provided by private companies that contract with Medicare. Because Medicare is a federal program, it is basically the same everywhere in the United States.
Medicare has two parts: Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance), which helps pay for care in a hospital and skilled nursing facility, home health care, and hospice care; and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance), which helps pay for doctors, outpatient hospital care, and other medical services. Most people don’t have to pay for Medicare Part A. Most people pay for Medicare Part B.
Who is eligible for Medicare?
If you are 65 years or older, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the U.S., and you or your spouse have worked for at least 10 years at a Medicare-covered job, you are generally eligible for Medicare. If you are not 65, but you have a disability or End-Stage Renal disease requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant, you may also qualify. For more information, you can visit www.Medicare.gov.
Medicaid is an assistance program, as opposed to an insurance program, that serves low-income people regardless of age. Medical bills are paid from federal, state and local tax funds and the patients usually do not pay any of the costs for covered medical expenses. A small co-payment is sometimes required.
Medicaid is a federal-state program, meaning that it is run by state and local governments within federal guidelines. Therefore, the specifics of the program vary from state to state including the rules for Medicaid eligibility. Most states offer coverage for adults with children below a certain income level, pregnant women, certain seniors, and people with disabilities. Eligibility may be expanded in 2014 with the new health care law. So, if you were told you did not qualify for Medicaid before, you may qualify under the new law.
Applying for Medicaid in Arkansas.
To apply for Medicaid, go to the Department of Human Services (DHS) office in the Arkansas county where you live. Take the following information about yourself and the family members who live with you:
- Proof of your age such as a birth certificate, driver’s license or a birth record from the hospital
- Paycheck stubs for everyone in your household who has a job
- Social Security card
- Letters or forms from Social Security, SSI, Veteran’s Administration, or other sources that show the amount of your income
- Insurance policies, including other health insurance policies
- Bank books or other papers that show the amount of money or property you own
Arkansas has several Medicaid Programs: ARKids First, ConnectCare, ElderChoices, Alternative, DDS Waiver and TEFRA. For more information visit the Arkansas Medicaid website (http://www.medicaid.state.ar.us/).
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