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March 1, 2015

5 Minute Primer to Medicaid, Medicare, and Obamacare

Without bias, how would you describe these programs (Medicaid, Medicare, Obamacare) objectively to a person who doesn't know anything about them in 5 minutes or less?

Probably start by calling Obamacare, Obamacare can be a divisive term.

Medicare is government subsidized health care for those 65 or older or who have certain disabilities. Not everything is completely paid for though and it depends on what part of Medicare you subscribe to, what you pay. More information is at

Medicaid is for extremely low income people and families, those below the poverty line, and for children whose parents are otherwise unable to insure them (that is also known as chip)

The Affordable Care Act made nationally provided health care available to all Americans. It works similar to private health insurance plans (usually provided by employers).

Everyone needs to have health insurance in the US. It is simply unaffordable otherwise unless you are independently wealthy. A single emergency room visit can be $500 to upwards of $100,000 in rare cases. ~CL

Very well put, CL. A couple of small points to add - Obamacare is also known as the Affordable Care Act. Even with the passing of the ACA, there can still be people who do not have any insurance depending on their income (that is, they may not qualify for Medicaid but they make too little money to be legally obligated to get insurance through the ACA). ~RP

Yes, RP is exactly right. There is still a gap (and ACA healthcare can be subsidized depending on your income) but the gap is smaller now than before. There are still those who fall through ... ~CL

In many cases those with full time jobs in the US will have employer sponsored health care insurance options. For those who are not eligible through their employer, the above options may be another answer. Please share your thoughts below.

(I understand this is a hot-topic, politically. Here, we are not here to argue politics, but provide information to educate people about these options. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.)

~This post is part of "Questions about American Culture" - a part of the US Corporate Culture Training for Offshore Professionals. At the beginning and end of the training participants ask any question they have about living in the US as an expat. While some questions are answered on the spot, some will be followed up outside of the session, such as this one.

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We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Salt Lake City, Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.