Medicare is the Federally sponsored health insurance program. It serves people over 65 whatever their income; younger disabled people and dialysis patients. Small monthly premiums are required for non-hospital coverage. It is basically the same everywhere in the United States and is run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, an agency of the federal government. Medicare is strictly a short term benefit Medicaid is an assistance program. It serves low-income people of every age. Patients usually pay no part of costs for covered medical expenses. A small co-payment is sometimes required. Medicaid varies from state to state. It is run by state and local governments within federal guidelines. Medicaid covers long term care for those who qualify. For more information regarding the Medicare and Medicaid programs, please visit our Helpful Links section.