Medicare and Medicaid

“My aunt’s always on the phone with her insurance company complaining about getting the runaround when they don’t cover something.”


Bernadette has some problems with medical bills while dealing with her illness, which is understandable. Multiple sclerosis, the disease that she is diagnosed with, can cost anywhere from $8,500 to $50,000 per year which is way more than most people can afford on their own. She could, of course, get health insurance but private insurers can be expensive and may not cover preexisting conditions such as Bernadette’s. But, are there other options to help her with her treatment costs? Well, as seen in the play, in some cases people can raise the money to pay for treatment, but not everyone has a good friend like Tino to do something so selfless. Instead, they could try to apply for Medicare or Medicaid.

Medicare and Medicaid are government run programs that were started in 1965 to help older and low-income Americans to pay for private health insurance. They were started under President Lyndon B. Johnson as a part of his vision of a “Great Society” where the government would help people reach their individual health care needs. The idea is to relieve the trouble from the ill and low-income families by sharing some of the financial burdens with healthy and affluent families. Nevertheless, even though they were made under the same idea during the same year, Medicare and Medicaid are two vastly different programs.

Medicare is for those 65 years and older, or with a severe disability no matter their income. Medicaid, on the other hand, provides insurance coverage for people with a very low income. There is also the possibility of dual enrollment if you meet both of the qualifications, which in this case Bernadette does meaning she is eligible for very good health coverage. But still, Medicare and Medicaid are not imperfect and still have problem when dealing with a patient’s financial needs (especially Medicare), which is where Supplemental Insurance comes in.
For more information on medicare and medicaid, you can check out:



"Medicare vs. Medicaid." Medicare Insurance Options from eHealth Medicare. 2017.

"What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?" Medicare Interactive.

Woods, Alisa, PhD. "The Costs of Multiple Sclerosis Treatment." March 08, 2016.