Medicaid and Medicare Frequently Asked Questions

Medicaid, CHIP, Medicare and other similar programs are funded by the federal government and individual states. Learn more below.

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults and people with disabilities. Medicaid is administered by states, according to federal requirements. The program is funded jointly by states and the federal government.

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What is Medicare?

Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD).

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What is TANF?

TANF stands for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The TANF program, which is time limited, assists families with children when the parents or other responsible relatives cannot provide for the family’s basic needs. The Federal government provides grants to States to run the TANF program.

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What is CHIP?

CHIP stands for Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides low-cost health coverage to children in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to buy private insurance. Each state offers CHIP coverage and works closely with its state Medicaid program. You can apply any time.

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What is SSI?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes). It is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people who have little or no income, providing cash to meet basic needs for food clothing and shelter.

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What is SMI?

Serious mental illness (SMI) is defined as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder resulting in serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.

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What is LTSS?

LTSS stands for Long-Term Services and Supports, which help individuals with non-medical needs, such as:

  • Care provided in the home, in community-based settings, or in facilities, such as nursing homes
  • Care for older adults and people with disabilities who need support because of age; physical, cognitive, developmental, or chronic health conditions; or other functional limitations that restrict their abilities to care for themselves
  • A wide range of services to help people live more independently by assisting with personal and healthcare needs and activities of daily living, such as:
    • Eating
    • Taking baths
    • Managing medication
    • Grooming
    • Walking
    • Getting up and down from a seated position
    • Using the toilet
    • Cooking
    • Driving
    • Getting dressed
    • Managing money

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