Overview

Medicare vs. Medi-Cal
What's the Difference?

Medicare is a federally governed health insurance program. Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, is an assistance program governed by the State of California and financed equally by the state and federal governments.

Medicare

Medicare is the federally funded health insurance program for:

  • People age 65 and older.
  • Certain younger people under age 65 with certain disabilities.
  • People of all ages with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant).

There are four parts of Medicare that cover specific services:

  • Medicare Part A (hospital insurance)
  • Medicare Part B (medical insurance)
  • Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans)
  • Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage)

Your application for Medicare is located at the Social Security office in your area or is available online here.

Medi-Cal

Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program, which is financed equally by the State and federal government. Medi-Cal is a public health insurance program that provides needed healthcare services for low-income individuals including:

  • Families with children
  • Seniors
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Foster care
  • Pregnant women
  • Low-income people with specific diseases such as tuberculosis, breast cancer or HIV/AIDS.

“Medi-Medi” or “Dual Eligible”

Some people qualify for both Medicare and Medi-Cal. People who qualify for both programs are called ‘dual eligible’ or “Medi-Medi.” Medi-Cal is sometimes used to help pay for Medicare premiums.

Commands