Dually Eligible Beneficiaries

Dually eligible beneficiaries are people enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid by virtue of their age or disability and low incomes. This population is diverse and includes individuals with multiple chronic conditions, physical disabilities, mental illness, and cognitive impairments such as dementia and developmental disabilities. It also includes some individuals who are relatively healthy.

Dually eligible beneficiaries receive the same benefits as all other Medicare beneficiaries, but they may receive either full or partial Medicaid benefits. Full-benefit dually eligible beneficiaries receive full Medicaid benefits and may or may not receive help paying their Medicare premiums and cost sharing. Partial-benefit dually eligible beneficiaries only receive Medicaid assistance with their Medicare premiums and cost sharing. The Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) provide assistance in paying for Medicare premiums and cost sharing for dually eligible beneficiaries who meet specific income and asset thresholds.

There were 10.7 million individuals dually enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid in calendar year 2013. A majority were age 65 and older (58 percent), female (61 percent), and qualified for Medicare because of a disability (52 percent).

Due to their complex health care needs, dually eligible beneficiaries account for a disproportionate share of spending in both Medicare and Medicaid. In Medicare, they represent 20 percent of enrollees but 34 percent of spending. In Medicaid, they represent 15 percent of enrollees and 32 percent of spending. Of the $312.4 billion in total spending on dually eligible beneficiaries by both Medicare and Medicaid in 2013, Medicaid accounted for $118.9 billion, or about 38 percent.

More information coming soon.

Featured publications

Data Book: Beneficiaries Dually Eligible for Medicare and Medicaid

January 2018 |

Dually eligible beneficiaries receive both Medicare and Medicaid benefits by virtue of age or disability and low income. The design of the programs creates particular challenges for efficient, effective health care delivery. The existence of separate funding streams can create barriers to coordination of care for dually eligible beneficiaries, which in turn can lead to […]

Financial Alignment Initiative for Beneficiaries Dually Eligible for Medicaid and Medicare

January 2018 | ,

Medicaid and Medicare together provide health coverage for approximately 10.8 million low-income seniors and people with disabilities who are dually eligible for both programs. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office has implemented the Financial Alignment Initiative to improve care and reduce program costs for these beneficiaries, as well as improve coordination […]