Medicare and Medicaid: What You Need to Know

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by Brianna Albers |

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Medical costs are expensive, especially for patients with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). If you’re unable to work, and thus keep a steady income, you may find it difficult to pay your bills and fees. However, for those in the U.S., programs like Medicare and Medicaid might help to alleviate some of your financial pressure.

Health care can be hard to figure out, especially when it comes to eligibility and the benefits that result from being a Medicare or Medicaid patient. The difference between Medicare and Medicaid remains one of the hardest details to get a handle on, so we’ve put together a summary of each program with a little help from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Medicare is an insurance program, and Medicaid an assistance program. Medicaid is sometimes referred to as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Differences are found largely in the populations they serve: Medicare is primarily for people over 65 years of age, regardless of income, as well as disabled patients, including those on dialysis; Medicaid is for low-income people of every age.

Because Medicare is an insurance program, patients pay deductibles for medical costs. A majority of Medicare bills are paid through trust funds that are supplemented by Medicare patients. Medicaid patients usually don’t pay for covered medical costs; however, sometimes a co-payment is required.

Medicare and Medicaid are both federal programs. However, Medicare is essentially the same throughout the United States. Medicaid, on the other hand, is run by state and local governments, and varies depending on location. Medicare is run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

To see if you qualify for Medicaid/CHIP, check out this informational article via the U.S. health care system. To find out more about Medicare, head to; Medicaid/CHIP can be found at

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SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.