The History of Medicare shows that Medicare can be a confusing and convoluted program to many seniors.
The history or Medicare shows it to be one of America's first government-sponsored national health care programs, this helps pay for health care services to individuals age 65 are older. These benefits are also available to individuals diagnosed with end-stage renal disease, permanent disabilities, and specific other individuals.
This is a federally funded program, often confused with Medicaid, which is a state funded program.
The first nationally based health insurance plan proposed in the United States came in 1945, when President Truman addressed Congress regarding the establishment of a health plan for Americans. Nothing happened for a couple of decades, as Congress and the public were wary of what they termed 'socialized' medicine during the period following World War II and the Cold War years.
The History of Medicare also shows that the program was first instituted for individuals to 65 years of age or older in the summer of 1966, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. As a note of interest, former President Harry Truman was among the first to sign up for benefits.
At that time, Part B premiums amounted to about $3.00 a month.
By 1973, benefits were expanded to include individuals diagnosed with permanent disabilities or end-stage renal disease. The program was designed to help provide help for hospital care to individuals who were receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits.
The hospital care portion, known as Part A (known as hospital insurance) was designed to provide inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, home health and hospice care to seniors.
Part B was also created at this time, known as supplemental medical insurance. Part B (known as medical insurance) covers physicians and surgeon's services and care, as well as emergency and outpatient clinic care, same day surgeries and most ambulance services.
In 1966, nearly 20 million Americans enrolled into the program. In 1997, two agencies joined together to create the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
By 1983, the Prospective Payment System (PPO) was introduced into health care for hospital inpatient services, and at this time, provided benefits for most federal civilian employees as well as all federal employees.
During the intervening years, changes and additions were made to the options offered, and in 1999, the Balanced Budget Refinement Act revised the Medicare + Choice (Advantage Plan) program.
By the year 2000, Part B premiums amounted to roughly $45.00 per month.
In 2003, President George W. Bush passed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act. Known as the Medicare Reform Bill, the new law provided those with disabilities and senior citizens with prescription drug benefits, as well as more selections and benefits under the program. Known as Part D, this option offers coverage for prescription drugs.
In 2005, the number of Americans enrolled in various programs exceeded 40 million. In the past, as today, the Social Security Administration determines eligibility. Individuals who have not paid into the Social Security System with taxes for at least 10 years must pay monthly premiums to be enrolled in the program unless under special circumstances.
Individuals who meet age requirements but not the 10 year requirement for paying into the Social Security System for benefits often pay between $250 and $475 a month in premiums to participate in the program.
In 2010, Part B participants typically pay approximately $100 a month, but premiums may reach as high as $300 a month for some individuals.
By 2030, the number of Americans enrolled in the program is expected to reach nearly 80 million. By 2012 alone, Medicare expenditures are expected to reach nearly $500 billion. Current attempts to revise America's system has been met with controversy, and as of 2010, expected cuts in expenditures and benefits reaches into the millions, causing no little concern to America's seniors and approaching baby boomer generation.
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