Medicare is a federal program which is available to individuals who are 65 years of age and older, as well as certain disabled individuals. Presently, Medicare provides health care for approximately 40 million elderly and disabled Americans without any asset or income requirements. Medicare does not provide coverage for custodial care, which is generally most of the care a nursing home patient receives.
Medicaid is a federal program which provides medical care to the poor, to children, and to pregnant women living under the federal poverty level. It is funded jointly by the states and the federal government, and is currently administered at the county level.