Obamacare vs Medicaid: Difference and Comparison

In the United States, healthcare expenses can be very expensive depending on the type of healthcare you are getting. Even an ambulance that will take you to the hospital can charge you over 400 U.S. dollars.

An initial doctor consultation will cost you around 100 to 200 US dollars. If you are willing to consult with a specialist it will cost more. 

Bearing these expenses without health insurance is impossible for the general public. So, there are several health insurances or coverage in the country which reduce healthcare expenses.

Obamacare and Medicaid were initiated in the hope of reducing healthcare expenses. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Obamacare is a healthcare reform law that aims to provide affordable health insurance to all Americans. At the same time, Medicaid is a federal and state program that provides healthcare coverage to low-income individuals and families.
  2. Obamacare is available to all Americans, while Medicaid is only available to those with certain income requirements.
  3. Obamacare has faced legal challenges, while Medicaid has existed for over 50 years.

Obamacare vs Medicaid

Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, is a federal law in the United States that aims to improve access to healthcare and reduce its cost. Medicaid is a joint federal and state program in the United States that provides healthcare coverage to low-income individuals and families.

Obamacare vs Medicaid

Obamacare is the other name of the ACA or Affordable Care Act passed in March 2010. The goal of the law is to make health insurance more accessible.

Since it is a law practically every citizen of the country is required to have health insurance. If you don’t get covered by the deadline you may have to pay a tax penalty.

With the introduction of Obamacare, the insurance companies of the US no longer can increase insurance rates or decline consumers for coverage depending on their medical history.

Medicaid refers to a health insurance program of the US state and federal government. It provides low-cost or free health coverage to many citizens of the country, including low-income families, pregnant women, elderly people, disabled, and children.

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The federal government sets guidelines for the program and provides a portion of the funding for Medicaid.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonObamacareMedicaid
Administered byPrivate insurance companies within the US marketplace exchange.    Federal and state government.
IntroductionMarch 2010 30th July 1965
Income level Don’t have a financial requirement.     The financial requirements are established based on the family size and income of the applicants, compared with FPL or Federal Poverty Line.
Enrollment periods Between November 1 and December 15.     Throughout the year.
Retroactive coverageIt can’t be retroactive.  It can be retroactive.

What is Obamacare?

Obamacare is the other name of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed in March 2010. Obamacare benefited every citizen of the United States by increasing access to insurance coverage to provide affordable health insurance, protections, and rights that make health coverage easy to understand and fairer.

The increased accessibility of health insurance options helps narrow economic, racial, and geographic disparities in health care coverage.

Obamacare produced widespread gains in health coverage. More than twenty million citizens of the country gained insurance including children by staying on their parent’s plan until the age of 26.

It supports citizens with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or cancer. Insurance companies are unable to deny coverage based on the health status or medical history of a person.

It also focuses on preventive care by ensuring that most of the plans fully cover the cost for certain recommended preventive services.

Mammograms, screening colonoscopies, flu shots, and well-child visits are provided free of cost to the patients under this health insurance. 

Obamacare improves health care for children and women by preventing insurers from charging women higher premiums than men.

The law lets insurers provide birth control, breastfeeding support, maternity care, and other medical services which are critical for children and women’s health.


What is Medicaid?

Medicaid refers to the state and federal health program that provides health care insurance to low-income people. It was first introduced in the country as part of the Social Security Act 1965.

It serves specific groups of citizens like children who come from low-income families, children in foster care, pregnant women who have low income, disabled people, low-income earner elderly citizens, and caregivers or parents with low income.

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The entitlement of the program is based on two main guarantees:

First of all, all citizens of the country who meet the eligibility criteria of Medicaid are guaranteed to be covered under this program, and the second guarantee is each state under this program is guaranteed by federal matching dollars.

It is financed jointly by states and the federal government. It provides long-term health care for many vulnerable and poorest citizens of the United States.

In 2017 it covered more than 75 million citizens with low income and in 2019 thirty-seven states of America adopted this program. This program covers a wide range of health care services for addressing the diverse needs of the citizens it serves.

Many states also chose to provide additional services like physical therapy, dental care, eyeglasses, and prescription drugs. This program also plays a significant role in addressing the epidemic caused by opioids.


Main Differences Between Obamacare and Medicaid

  1. Obamacare is administered by private insurance companies within the US marketplace exchange, Medicaid, on the other hand, is administered by governments of the states and federal.
  2. Obamacare was introduced in March 2010, whereas Medicaid was introduced much earlier, on 30th July 1965.
  3. Obamacare has no financial requirements, every citizen of America is covered by this health care program, but Medicaid is only applicable for the low-income citizens of the country.
  4. The enrollment period of Obamacare remains six weeks, between November 1 and December 15, but the enrollment to Medicaid is done throughout the year.
  5. Obamacare can’t be retroactive, but Medicaid can.
Difference Between Obamacare and Medicaid
  1. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=obamacare&btnG=#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3D1t4U2JwqyQIJ
  2. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=medicaid&oq=medicai#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3DYdyTKwXKyYwJ

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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