Government Benefits

Back to Basics: Medicare vs. Medicaid

Back to Basics: Medicare vs. Medicaid

By Julia Saunders

“The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.”


This quote from former Vice President Hubert Humphrey is one of our favorites. It informs our mission: to help the government pass this moral test.


This quote is also a perfect illustration of differences between existing government subsidized healthcare programs in the United States, which is a source of confusion for many Americans.


To state it as simply as possible, Medicare and Medicaid are both government subsidized health insurance programs, but the key difference lies in the audiences they serve.


Medicare serves those individuals in the twilight of life: the aged American population. Anyone over the age of 65 is eligible to apply.


Medicaid serves those individuals in the shadows of life: the sick, the needy, and the handicapped. Medicaid is intended for those Americans who fall into a low income bracket or have serious medical conditions that require expensive treatments.


CHIP is another government subsidized healthcare program, but because of its name, it is easier to understand whom it serves. CHIP stands for Children’s Health Insurance Program. While eligibility differs between states, CHIP is available to those children whose families earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid.


And where does FHAS fit into this puzzle? FHAS is comprised of teams of nurses, doctors, other medical professionals, and attorneys. Using their expertise in their respective fields, these individuals review cases in which federal health insurance benefits have been denied and determine whether or not the denial was a legally sound decision. They do not determine whether or not the medical coverage, treatment, or equipment requested was necessary, but rather whether or not the government requirements for eligibility were met.


To learn more about medical review, visit