Medicare is the Nation’s health insurance program for people aged 65 and older, some people under age 65 with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant). The Medicare program has two components: Part A, which covers hospital, skilled nursing, home health, and hospice care, and Part B, which covers physician services, outpatient hospital services, and durable medical equipment. Among the preventive services covered by Medicare are an annual mammogram, Pap smear, bone density scan, and influenza vaccination.

In 2003, Medicare had over 41 million enrollees, of whom 56 percent were female. The large majority of all Medicare enrollees were aged 65 or older, with the elderly representing 88 percent of female enrollees and 82 percent of males.

Medicaid is jointly funded by the Federal and State governments and provides coverage for low-income individuals and people with disabilities. In 2002, Medicaid covered 51.5 million individuals, including children; the aged, blind, and disabled; and people who are eligible for cash assistance programs. Sixty percent of Medicaid enrollees were female. Of all Medicaid enrollees, 54 percent were under age 21, 35 percent were between the ages of 21 and 64, and 11 percent were aged 65 and older.1

Graph: Medicare Enrollees by Age and Sex[d]

1Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Medicaid Statistical Information System.