Medicare is a federal program designed to provide reasonably priced health insurance for retirees, regardless of medical condition. You generally become eligible for Medicare at the same time you become eligible for full Social Security benefits (currently age 65). In addition, some disabled individuals and people with kidney disease are eligible for coverage. Medicare is broken down into two parts, A and B. The specific eligibility rules, benefits, and costs to you will vary between parts A and B. It's important to realize that Medicare may not be enough after you retire, but supplemental insurance policies known as Medigap policies, sold by private insurers, can help fill the holes in Medicare's coverage. If cost is a concern, you can also choose to participate in a Medicare managed care plan. These plans, called Medicare Advantage plans, are health maintenance organizations offered by private insurance companies. If your income is limited, your state may help pay Medicare costs such as your premiums and deductibles.
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides medical benefits to individuals who can't afford medical care, including elderly, disabled, and blind individuals, as well as needy dependent children. Each state has its own Medicaid program, and specific eligibility requirements and benefits vary from one state to another. In addition, Medicaid benefits depend on whether you are considered medically needy or categorically needy. However, certain core benefits (including coverage for hospital bills, physician services, and long-term nursing home care) are shared by most Medicaid programs.
In general, all veterans who served in the U.S. military (except those who were dishonorably discharged) qualify for VA hospital and outpatient care. However, some veterans may not have full access to such care. For specific information on eligibility and the types of benefits available, contact your local VA office or visit the VA website.