Medicaid and Medicare are often mistaken as the same program. While both programs provide healthcare benefits, Medicaid and Medicare very different programs with a number of important differences. Medicare is funded and administered by the federal government. Most importantly, Medicare is an entitlement program, meaning that as long as you paid into the program during your working years, you are automatically entitled to benefits when you turn 65. Medicaid, however, is a “needs based” program. To qualify for benefits from a needs based program an applicant must demonstrate a financial need in addition to meeting any other eligibility criteria.