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 coverage through private insurers; and Part D allows for coverage of prescription drugs through private insurers.

In 2008, 55.5 percent of Medicare’s 45.4 million enrollees were female (data not shown). Among both women and men, those in older age groups accounted for a greater proportion of overall enrollment; however, men had greater representation than women in the younger age groups. For instance, 19.6 percent of male enrollees were under 65 years of age, compared to 14.1 percent of female enrollees. In contrast, adults aged 75 years and older accounted for 43.7 percent of female enrollees, compared to 34.5 percent of male enrollees.

Medicaid, jointly funded by Federal and State governments, provides coverage for low-income people and people with disabilities. In 2007, 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 (29.3 million), and women accounted for 69.3 percent of all adult enrollees (data not shown). 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 (74.5 and 80.1 percent, respectively).

Nearly 12.6 million women, representing 61.6 percent of adult female Medicaid enrollees, were of childbearing age in 2007 (data not shown). In order to expand family planning services to those most in need, States are able to apply for a waiver to cover women after childbirth, when their coverage would otherwise expire. As of November 2009, 27 States had secured a waiver for expanded family planning services; 11 of those states limited this benefit to adults aged 19 years or older.1


1 Kaiser Family Foundation, State Health Facts.  States that Have Expanded Coverage of Family Planning Services Under Medicaid, as of November 6, 2009.  [online]  November 2009.  http://www.statehealthfacts.org, accessed 12/15/09.

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