Working in concert, the Medicare and Medicaid health insurance programs provide low cost and possibly no cost health insurance benefits for low-income seniors (plus other adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults and people with disabilities).

Medicare Qualifications

Medicare is generally available for people age 65 or older (plus other younger people with disabilities or End Stage Renal Disease. Medicare coverage includes Hospital Insurance (Part A), Medical Insurance (Part B) and Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D).

Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care. Part B covers certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services. And, Part D adds prescription drug coverage.

You are eligible for premium-free Part A if you are age 65 or older and you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. If you (or your spouse) did not pay Medicare taxes while you worked, and you are age 65 or older and a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, Part A will not be premium free. However, you may be able to buy Part A if you have been qualified for Social Security or Railroad Retirement disability for 24 months, or if you are a kidney dialysis or kidney transplant patient.

Everyone on Medicare pays for Part B, if they want it.

Medicare is a national health insurance program that is administered by the federal government under the Social Security Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Medicaid Qualifications

Medicaid helps people with limited income and assets pay for their health care expenses. The program is jointly funded by the federal and state governments. In Arizona, is administered by the Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS).

In combination with Medicare, Arizona Medicaid (or AHCCCS) will help qualified individuals pay for health insurance and out-of-pocket medical expenses including:

    • Doctor’s Visits
    • Immunizations (shots)
    • Lab and X-rays
    • Specialist Care
    • Hospital Services
    • Transportation to doctor
    • Emergency Care
    • Podiatry Services
    • Physical Exams
    • Behavioral Health
    • Dialysis
    • Emergency Dental

Dual Eligible Medicare

If you qualify for Medicaid, you may also qualify for dual eligible Medicare Advantage benefits. Dual eligibility can add Medicare Advantage benefits that may include help with vision, hearing aids, meals, transportation and over the counter as well as prescription health aids and medication.


ACCESSMed provides Medicare and Medicaid counseling and enrollment help for seniors. We help seniors who cannot qualify for Medicaid evaluate low cost Medicare Advantage alternatives.

Read more about Medicare Advantage Alternatives.