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Working both sides of the Medicare-Medicaid street

Nine million Americans get benefits from both Medicare and Medicaid, draining program resources. But it’s perfectly legal.

Working both sides of the Medicare-Medicaid street

Nine million Americans get both Medicare and Medicaid benefits simultaneously. They consume a disproportionate share of program resources.

It’s perfectly legal to be a so-called “dual-eligible” and pull from both programs. But in 2008, the latest data year available, these nine million Americans comprised 20 percent of Medicare clients but accounted for 31 percent of Medicare spending ($132 billion). They were only 15 percent of Medicaid clients, but took up 39 percent of Medicaid funds ($129 billion).

Dual-eligibles tend to be both low-income and elderly and their population varies widely by state. Today’s infographic has more details, including the states with the most and least dual-eligibles.

Facts like this are at the heart of the debate over the future of Medicare. What do you think? Should we be considering benefit limits, or is the country’s obligation to these recipients absolute? Tell us what you think below.

What do others say?

  • : Kaiser Family Foundation: “Duals: The national health reform experiment we should be talking more about” More

  • : American Medical News: “Resistance builds to managed care for dual eligibles” More

  • : Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: “Care for dual eligibles” More

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