Two of America's most important programs, Medicare and Medicaid, celebrated their 50th birthdays in 2015. Medicare is the program that primarily covers seniors aged 65 and up by helping to pay around 80% of their eligible medical costs, whereas Medicaid primarily steps in to help lower-income Americans and families get medical care when they need it. Combined, these two programs cover around 116 million people.
Yet Medicare tends to garner most of the public's attention, namely because the cost to treat older Americans is considerably higher than the cost of treating the younger adults typically covered under Medicaid. Plus, if medical costs continue to rise at a pace that's far above the rate of inflation, seniors may struggle to meet their medical expenses in retirement.