| Mon, Apr 04, 2011 @ 09:00 AM

How Has Medicare Changed in the Last 45 Years?

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

health services, health benefits, health and human services, aging population, older parentsThe Medicare program was first introduced in 1965 and has undergone many changes in the past 45 years. Today, Medicare beneficiaries get coverage through either Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. Original Medicare, also known as Medicare Parts A and B, provides coverage for medically necessary in-patient and out-patient care. Medicare Advantage includes all of the coverage provided through Original Medicare and additional coverage that may include prescription drug coverage, vision, hearing, a nurse helpline and more. To understand where Medicare is today, let’s start with the history of Medicare.

History of Medicare

Medicare first became law when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Social Security Act Amendments of 1965 on July 30 of that year. The law was enacted to provide federal health insurance for Americans 65 and older and for others in need. In 1972, the law was expanded to provide health insurance benefits to those under 65 with long-term disabilities and those with end-stage renal disease. Later, the Medicare and Medicaid Program Protection Act of 1987 was enacted to reduce fraud and to provide better patient advocacy. The Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 became law in December of that year. This Act, which created prescription drug benefits for the Medicare population, went into effect in 2006. These are just a few examples of amendments that have changed Medicare over the years.

Medicare Today

Original Medicare

Original Medicare is made up of Medicare Parts A and B. Medicare Part A provides coverage for in-patient care received during hospital stays. Medicare Part A is free if you or your spouse has made payroll contributions to Social Security for at least 10 years. Medicare Part B requires a monthly premium from the beneficiary and covers out-patient care including doctor’s office visits. To learn more about Original Medicare, read our complete blog post.

Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, is provided by private insurance companies and includes all of the coverage available through Original Medicare as well as additional benefits. Additional benefits may include coverage for prescription drugs, preventive services, and vision, hearing and dental care. You can read our post on Original Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage for more details.

If you’re interested in learning more about Medicare and all that it has to offer, you can read the rest of our blog, follow us on Facebook and Twitter and view videos on our YouTube Channel. Whether you’re preparing to start receiving Medicare benefits yourself or are looking into it for a loved one, you can learn more through the Medicare Made Clear site and our social media channels. Consider us one of your many partners in health.

For an overview of Medicare Parts A and B, you can download our Show Me Guide and see pages 8 and 12.

To learn more about Medicare, visit the official Medicare Made Clear site or call us at 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, 7 days a week.

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The family of UnitedHealthcare® Medicare Solutions plans are insured or covered by an affiliate of UnitedHealthcare®, a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract and Medicare-approved Part D Sponsor.

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