U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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Medicare and Medicaid

Medicare is the Nation’s health insurance program for people aged 65 years and older, some people under age 65 with disabilities, and those with end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure). Medicare has four components: Part A covers hospital, skilled nursing, home health, and hospice care; Part B covers physician services, outpatient services, and durable medical equipment; Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans) allows beneficiaries to purchase additional insurance coverage through private insurers; and Part D allows coverage for prescription drugs through private insurers.

In 2007, 60.2 percent of Medicare’s 44.3 million enrollees were female. Among both women and men, those in older age groups accounted for a greater proportion of overall enrollment; however, men were more likely to have greater representation than women in the younger age groups. For instance, 8.5 percent of male enrollees were aged 55–64 years, compared to 6.2 percent of female enrollees. Similarly, adults aged 65–74 years accounted for 45.2 percent of male enrollees, compared to 41.4 percent of female enrollees. In contrast, adults aged 75 years and older accounted for 44.7 percent of female enrollees, compared to 35.0 percent of male enrollees.

Medicaid, jointly funded by Federal and State governments, provides coverage for low income people and people with disabilities. In 2006, Medicaid covered 59.4 million people including children; the aged, blind, and disabled; and adults who are eligible for cash assistance programs. Adults aged 19 and older accounted for nearly half of Medicaid enrollees (29.4 million), and women accounted for 69.4 percent of adult enrollees. Women accounted for a greater proportion of adult Medicaid enrollees than men in every age group, most noticeably among 21- to 44-year-olds and those aged 85 years and older (74.3 and 80.4 percent, respectively).

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