Medicaid in Iowa vs Medicare: What’s the Difference?

At Huizenga Law Firm, P.C., we often get asked about the differences between Medicaid and Medicare, two crucial government programs that provide healthcare coverage. While both programs aim to assist with medical costs, they are different in many ways, serving different demographics and offering varied services. Medicaid, for instance, is a state and federal program that helps with healthcare costs for some people with limited income and resources, while Medicare is a federal program that primarily provides health insurance for individuals aged 65 or older.

Qualifying for Medicaid in Iowa

In Iowa, qualifying for Medicaid involves meeting certain income and asset limitations. Medicaid serves individuals and families with low income, including some low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. This program is also instrumental for long-term support, such as nursing home care. Notably, in cases where one spouse requires long-term care, certain protections exist for the community spouse—the spouse still living at home—to prevent them from losing all of their assets. In comparison, Medicare doesn’t typically cover long-term care.

Medicare Coverage and Eligibility

Medicare, on the other hand, is more about age than income. Most people become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65. However, younger individuals with certain disabilities or those with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure) can also qualify. Medicare primarily covers things like hospital stays, doctor’s visits, and prescription drugs, although the specifics depend on the type of Medicare plan you have.

Coverage Differences Between Medicaid and Medicare in Iowa

One of the most notable differences between the two programs lies in the coverage they provide. Medicare has four parts—Part A (Hospital Insurance), Part B (Medical Insurance), Part C (Medicare Advantage), and Part D (prescription drug coverage). These parts cover services ranging from inpatient hospital stays to prescription drugs.

Medicaid, meanwhile, offers comprehensive coverage including some services not usually covered by Medicare, such as nursing home care and personal care services. In Iowa, there is also the possibility of applying for Medicaid Waivers that allow for more flexibility in services, especially for those needing long-term care.

Here are some key comparison points between Medicaid and Medicare in Iowa:

Medicaid in Iowa:

  • Program Type: A joint state and federal program.
  • Eligibility: Serves individuals and families with limited income and resources, including some low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities.
  • Coverage: Comprehensive, covers a wide array of health services including hospital visits, doctor’s visits, long-term care (including nursing home care), and other healthcare necessities.
  • Costs: Usually minimal or no cost to the patient.
  • State-Specific Features: Availability of Medicaid Waivers for added flexibility in services, especially for long-term care.


  • Program Type: A federal program.
  • Eligibility: Primarily provides health insurance for people aged 65 or older, younger people with certain disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease.
  • Coverage: Divided into Parts A (Hospital Insurance), B (Medical Insurance), C (Medicare Advantage), and D (prescription drug coverage). Covers hospital stays, doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, and other healthcare necessities.
  • Costs: Depending on the Medicare plan, there might be premiums, deductibles, and co-pays.
  • State-Specific Features: Not applicable as Medicare is a federal program with uniform features across states.

Please remember this is a basic comparison, and the specifics can vary based on individual circumstances. It is always advisable to consult with an experienced professional when navigating these systems.

Navigating Medicaid and Medicare in Iowa with Huizenga Law Firm, P.C.

As you can see, Medicaid and Medicare serve different but equally crucial roles in our healthcare system. Understanding the complexities of both systems can be challenging, but you don’t have to navigate these waters alone. At Huizenga Law Firm, P.C., we are committed to helping Iowa residents make sense of these systems and ensure they receive the care and coverage they need.

Contact Huizenga Law Firm, P.C. for Medicaid and Medicare Help in Iowa

Whether you’re trying to understand Medicaid expansion, applying for Medicaid benefits, or figuring out your Medicare plan, we’re here to help. Our experienced team is just a phone call away. For help understanding Medicaid and Medicare in Iowa, contact Huizenga Law Firm, P.C., today at 712-737-3885.