Medicare Glossary

Definitions for common Medicare terms

dual eligible

DEFINITION: Americans who are enrolled in both Medicaid and Medicare are referred to as dual-eligible beneficiaries, or Medicare dual eligibles, or sometimes simply duals.

Dual-eligibles are enrolled in both programs when a Medicare enrollee’s income and assets are low enough to qualify them for Medicaid help in paying for some of the costs of Medicare – or to qualify them for full coverage under both Medicare and Medicaid.

These enrollees are commonly broken into two groups:

  • full-benefit dual-eligibles – who have Medicare but also receive benefits under Medicaid
  • partial duals – who have Medicare but qualify to have Medicaid help pay for expenses such as Medicare premiums and/or cost-sharing

Read more about dual eligibles.