Nearly 150 million people in the US rely on two major federal health programs for their health coverage — Medicaid and Medicare.

These programs support adults with low incomes, children, people over the age of 65, and people with disabilities. Some 12 million people are eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare — sometimes referred to as “dually eligible individuals.”

Both Medicaid and Medicare are essential in providing equitable and affordable health care. As important as they are, however, the programs need vast improvement.

For example, the benefits under both are inadequate. So many vital services, like dental, abortion, postpartum care, hearing, and vision benefits, are not covered at all. Others like maternity care, mental health, and substance use disorder treatment are woefully lacking.

Many providers don’t accept Medicaid or Medicare, and those who do often don’t reflect the communities they serve.

And dually eligible individuals often have trouble navigating through two complicated health care systems, often feeling lost in a maze of multiple doctors, medications and programs — resulting in poor care and unnecessary complications.

Policy changes can significantly improve the benefits that are covered in both programs, and the overall experience for dually eligible individuals.

Community Catalyst partners with local, state, and national organizations to build power so people can shape policy ideas that will help to improve Medicaid and Medicare.

It’s critical that community members who rely on these programs — including dually eligible individuals — are engaged in meaningful ways so that changes to the programs reflect their community’s needs.

Related Issues