Medicare Vs Medicaid: Know The Difference

Medicare and Medicaid. These two words are so much alike that many people get them confused. They are both government-sponsored health insurance programs, but that is where the similarities end. One of these programs is for adults 65 and older, while the other is for low-income individuals. It is important to understand the difference between the two, so when it is time to enroll in Medicare, you do not miss the opportunity and end up facing a penalty.

red medical bag in a blue circle
Medicare Part A and B will help pay for medical services including hospital insurance and medical insurance.

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federally-funded program run by the federal government. It is funded by taxpayer dollars as well as by premiums that are paid by beneficiaries. It covers all adults 65 or older; unlike Medicaid, Medicare eligibility is not determined by your income. When you turn 65, you are eligible for Medicare coverage that is broken down into 2 parts: Part A and Part B. 

  • Part A is hospital insurance that covers inpatient medical services and supplies. You can receive premium-free Part A as long as you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. 
  • Part B is medical insurance and covers outpatient medical services and supplies. It has monthly premiums that you must pay in order to receive coverage. 

When You Can Enroll

You can enroll in Medicare during the 7 month window around your 65th birthday, which includes the 3 months before your birth month, the month of your birth date, and the 3 months after your birth month. If you miss your Initial Enrollment Period, you can enroll during the General Enrollment Period (January through March), but you will have to pay a penalty fee. Your monthly premium may go up 10% for each 12-month period you could’ve had Part B, but didn’t sign up. In most cases, you’ll have to pay this penalty for as long as you have Part B.

The only exception to the Part B late penalty fee is if you or your spouse is still working and you have group coverage through your employer or union. Then you can qualify to enroll in Medicare Part B during an 8-month Special Enrollment Period after losing your employer-based coverage. 

Medicare Supplement Plans illustration of money bills and a gold coin

Medicare Part B generally covers 80% of your medical expenses, meaning you will have to pay the other 20% coinsurance out of pocket. Depending on your situation, these expenses can add up to  a lot of money throughout the year. In order to help with these expenses, you can choose to purchase a Medicare Supplement Plan when you enroll in Medicare. These plans will pay the 20% coinsurance that Original Medicare does not pay, as well as other healthcare expenses, like deductibles and copays. 

What Is Medicaid?

black and white picture of a pregnant woman's belly with a little girl laying her head against the belly.
Medicaid qualifications are dependent on family status, pregnancy, and more.

Medicaid is a health insurance program that is jointly funded by states and the federal government. It is voluntary and is offered based on income, generally to low-income individuals or families. Medicaid qualifications are broadly based on:

  • Income
  • Disability
  • Pregnancy
  • Age
  • Household size
  • Family status

Medicaid covers major medical expenses and is required to cover certain care. Medicaid beneficiaries pay premiums, deductibles, copays and coinsurance. 

Medicare and Medicaid may sound the same, but when it comes to coverage and eligibility, they are not the same at all. When you are approaching age 65, it is important to know how to enroll in Medicare, because the longer you push it off, the more you will pay. In order to get properly insured, contact an EZ.Insure agent. We will provide you with expert Medicare help, and even compare Medicare Supplement Plans for free. We want to make the transition from regular health insurance to Medicare as smooth as possible. In order to do this, we will go over your needs and compare all Medicare Supplement Plans to find a plan that will save you hundreds of dollars each year. 

To compare quotes within minutes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak directly with an agent, call 888-753-7207.

Get A Plan From One of The Best Rated Medicare Supplement Companies Through EZ

There are a lot of choices when it comes to Medicare Supplement Plans. You not only have the choice between 10 different letter plans, but you also have the choice of multiple companies to buy your plan from. There’s Aetna, Cigna, Humana, Mutual of Omaha, and so many more. But which one in this sea of companies should you go for? First you need to determine which companies service your area. Next, you need to check each company’s ratings. At EZ, we have agents who can find the company that best fits your needs, so you can get the best possible plan and service. 

How Companies Are Rated

yellow trophy with a star in the middle of the cup part.
Organizations like the Better Business Bureau will sometimes evaluate multiple companies and give awards based on certain factors. 

Ratings for insurance companies that offer Medicare Supplement Plans are not based on the coverage that their plans offer. This is because Medicare Supplement Plans are standardized by Medicare, so each insurance company has to offer the same benefits for each letter plan across the board. Insurance companies can, however, set the premiums for their plans, so those vary from one company to another. Ratings aren’t generally determined by price alone, though. Insurance company ratings are based on: 

  • The variety of plans offered. Many companies only offer a limited number of policies out of the 10 different letter plan types. 
  • Their customer service. This is determined by customer reviews.
  • Awards received. Organizations like the Better Business Bureau will sometimes evaluate multiple companies and give awards based on certain factors. 
  • How many states they offer plans in. Some companies only offer plans in a handful of states, while others serve more areas.

The Top Rated Companies

After evaluating all of the criteria above, we have determined that the top 5 Medicare Supplement insurance companies are:

  1. Humana– Covers all 50 states, offers plans A,B,C,K,L,N, and has the best additional member benefits. This company generally uses attained-age pricing, meaning premiums increase as you age, and premiums depend on your location, age, tobacco use, and gender. They offer small discounts to those who are living with another senior member who has one of their Medicare Supplement Plans.
  2. Aetna- Covers 42 states, offers plans A,B,G,N, and is rated best for customer service. Aetna generally uses attained-age pricing, so premiums increase as customers age. They  also offer a 12-month rate lock, which guarantees that your premiums will not go up in the first year. They offer a 12% discount for customers who live with another senior who has one of their Medicare Supplement Plans. 
  3. Cigna– Covers 50 states, offers plans A,B,C,D,G,N, and has been rated the best overall value for the plans they offer. They do not require customers to use an in-network doctor, and they offer competitive premiums and some of the most affordable options. They offer a 7% discount for customers living with one other person that is enrolled in one of their Medicare Supplement Plans. map of the US with the states in different colors

  4. AARP– Covers 50 states, offers plans A,B,C,G,K,L,N, and is rated the most experienced in working with seniors. To qualify for a plan, you must be an AARP member. Their plan prices are community-rated. They offer an enrollment discount in most states of up to 30% for seniors aged 65, and they offer a 5% discount when more than one person in the household is enrolled in one of their plans.
  5. Mutual of Omaha– Covers 50 states, offers plans A,G,N, and is rated the most experienced in working with the Medicare system; they have been offering Medicare Supplement Plans since 1966. Their plans usually use attained-age pricing, so premiums increase as customers age. They offer a 12% discount if you live with one other person (over 60 years old) that is also covered by one of their plans. 

If you are interested in getting a plan from a top-rated Medicare Supplement company, EZ can help. We work with all of these companies, and more, and we will provide you with a highly trained licensed agent who works with these companies. Your agent will compare all available Medicare Supplement Plans to find the best one for you. You deserve the best, so we’ll make sure you get the best. To get free Medicare Supplement Plan quotes, enter your zip code in the bar above, or if you prefer to speak to an agent directly, call 888-753-7207. Our agents are ready to help!

A Medicare Supplement Plan Could Be Saving You Money Right Now!

Medicare provides peace of mind. It’s great to know that it’ll be there after you retire and no longer have employer-based health insurance. But Medicare Part B only pays for 80% of your medical costs, which leaves you with 20% of the bill, in addition to any unmet deductibles or copays. That 20% may not seem like a lot, but if you’re living on a fixed income as many seniors are, it can add up. 

Luckily, when you sign up for Medicare Parts A and B, you have the opportunity to sign up for a Medicare Supplement Plan as well. These plans provide coverage for the out-of-pocket expenses that Medicare doesn’t cover. Medicare Supplement Plans offer you protection from losing your assets to large medical bills.

blood shaped blood bag with a connecting tube.
Medicare Supplement Plans cover up to three pints of blood for a blood transfusion.

What Medicare Supplement Plans Offer

Some of the reasons to choose a Medicare Supplement Plan are:

  • Helps pay a portion of the approved expenses that you are left to pay out-of-pocket. This includes:
    • Copays
    • Coinsurance
    • Deductibles
    • Blood transfusions for up to three pints of blood
    • Hospice care coinsurance or copayment
    • Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance
    • Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) deductible
    • Medicare Part B (medical insurance) deductible
    • Part B excess charges
    • Medical costs incurred while traveling outside of the U.S.
    • Out-of-pocket limits
  • There is no network, so you can go to any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare assignment. 
  • Coverage will automatically renew each year (unless you want to switch plans)
hand holding a paper that says "medical bill" on it with dollar signs on the bottom circled in red.
Older people are more vulnerable to accidental falls and broken hips, and when these happen it can mean big medical bills.

Why You Should Have One

Life is unpredictable, and it doesn’t get any less unpredictable as you get older. Older people are more vulnerable to accidental falls and broken hips, and when these happen it can mean big medical bills. Health care and out-of-pocket costs are on the rise, and you could fall into debt if you had an accident or were diagnosed with a serious illness. Having a Medicare Supplement Plan means not having to worry about that happening to you. It also means not having to set aside money to pay for 20% of any bills you accumulate; you just have to budget for your monthly premiums.

One thing to remember is that you need to sign up for a plan during your Medicare Supplement Plan Open Enrollment Period (the 6-month period that starts the first day you are 65 and enrolled in Part B). Otherwise, you will need to undergo the medical underwriting process, and may end up with higher premiums.

Which Plan Is Right for You?

The cost and coverage of Medicare Supplement Plans vary from one letter plan to another. Some have high deductibles with lower monthly premiums, while some offer more coverage for a little more money per month. There are 10 different types of plans to choose from, so in order to choose the coverage you need for a price that works for you, you need to research and compare all the plans.

Comparing all the plans can take a long time and you might be wondering where to even start. That is why we created our business- to help you compare and sign up for plans at no cost to you. We want to help you make an informed decision, so you can get the best care at the best price. To get your free quotes, enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak directly to a licensed agent, call 888-753-7207.