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Medicaid and Medicare


Medicaid, jointly funded by Federal and State governments, provides medical coverage to certain categories of low-income people.2 In 2008, Medicaid covered 60.9 million people including low-income pregnant women, children, parents, elderly individuals, and those with disabilities. Adults aged 19 and older accounted for nearly half of Medicaid enrollees (30.2 million), and women accounted for 68.9 percent of all adult enrollees. Medicaid serves as a critical safety net for those who might otherwise be uninsured; enrollment has increased in the current recession, but more notably for children than adults due to greater eligibility and expansions for children.1

Women accounted for a larger proportion of adult Medicaid enrollees in every age group, most noticeably among those aged 19–44 and 85 years and older (73.4 and 79.7 percent, respectively). Nearly 12.9 million women, representing 61.8 percent of adult female Medicaid enrollees, were of childbearing age. Because the Medicaid eligibility threshold is lowered in the postpartum period, 28 States have expanded family planning through a federal waiver or state plan amendments to cover women who would not otherwise be eligible for Medicaid.3

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.2

In 2009, 55.3 percent of Medicare’s 46.5 million enrollees were female. Due to age-related eligibility, those in older age groups accounted for a greater proportion of overall enrollment among both women and men. However, male enrollees were more likely to be under 65 than female enrollees (19.6 versus 14.3 percent). In contrast, adults aged 85 years and older comprised a greater proportion of female than male enrollees (14.3 versus 8.4 percent), due to the longer life expectancy of women.

1 Kaiser Family Foundation.External Web Site Policy The Uninsured: A Primer. December 2010. Accessed 02/20/11.
2 Klees BS, Wolfe CJ, Curtis CA. Brief Summaries of Medicare & Medicaid. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: Baltimore, MD; Nov 2010.
3 Guttmacher Institute.External Web Site Policy State Policies in Brief: Medicaid Family Planning Eligibility Expansions. April 2011. Accessed 04/04/11.



Adult Medicaid Enrollees Aged 19 and Older, by Age and Sex, 2008*
Age Group Percent of Adults
Female Male
*Based on Federal Fiscal Year (October to September).
Source: U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Unpublished data.
19-44 Years 73.4 26.6
45-64 Years 57.2 42.8
65-74 Years 63.1 36.9
75-84 Years 69.2 30.7
85 Years and Older 79.7 20.3
Total 68.9 31.1
Medicare Enrollees, by Sex and Age, 2009*
Sex Percent of Adults
Under 65 Years 65-74 Years 75-84 Years 85 Years and Older
*Enrolled as of July 1, 2009
Source: U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Unpublished data.
Female 14.3 42.6 28.7 14.3
Male 19.6 46.4 25.6 8.4

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