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When was Medicare established?

Just the Essentials...

  • Medicare is a government insurance program established to help ages 65 and older with healthcare.

  • Since Medicare’s beginnings, its coverage expanded to include people with disabilities and certain medical conditions.

  • Over 30 years after Medicare began, Part C arrived. Today, Part C Medicare Advantage plans still offer choices and benefits that can go beyond Original Medicare.

When was Medicare established?

Established in 1965, Medicare began under the leadership of President Lyndon Johnson. As a way to provide people over age 65 with national health insurance, Congress enacted the Medicare Act under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act .

Regardless of personal income or medical history, Medicare originally intended to help Americans over 65 years of age. Since then, Medicare grew to cover people with disabilities, as well as certain medical conditions like kidney failure.

Over 30 years later, Medicare Part C  began in 1997. Better known as Medicare Advantage, the program offers choices and benefits that can exceed the government-run healthcare initiative.

Namely, Medicare Advantage plans originated with two main goals in mind:

  • To give beneficiaries choices of benefits beyond a one-size-fits-all medical reimbursement program.
  • To make use of the efficiencies already established in privately managed health care, both in terms of time and cost.

Today, these extensive choices are at your fingertips. Explore the options where you live with our free Medicare quotes tool. Click here to get started!

Qualifying Factors

When was Medicare established?

Overall, a few factors that are required to qualify for Medicare. To receive Medicare, you must:

  • Be age 65 or older
  • Have U.S. citizenship, or permanent legal residence of at least 5 years
  • Must have worked in a tax-contributing job, and those who worked at least 10 years can get Part A premium-free
  • Alternatively, have a qualifying disability and received disability benefits for 24 months

The main reason Americans qualify for Medicare is reaching the age of 65. Typically, any business that reports incomes and processes employee payroll would contribute to Medicare and Social Security taxes, resulting in premium-free Medicare Part A.

The History of Medicare in America

When was Medicare established?

Harry Truman started the beginning of Medicare, even though Lyndon Johnson was credited with its implementation. On November 19, 1945, Truman asked Congress for the creation of a national health insurance fund that would be open to everyone in America.

Truman envisioned a health plan for individuals that would pay for expenses such as:

  • Doctor visits
  • Hospital stays
  • Lab services
  • Dental care
  • Nursing care

President Truman tried to pass the Medicare plan while in office, but Congress rejected it. President John F. Kennedy also contended for elderly health care with the Medicare Act. Nonetheless, from its conception, another 20 years passed before Medicare returned to Congress’ floor. This time, under the Johnson administration, Medicare finally passed.

Medicare continues to help millions of Americans age 65 and older with health care that they might not be able to afford otherwise. In 2020, 63 million people received health coverage through a Medicare program. The dollar-amount of benefits paid through Medicare numbers in the hundreds of millions each year.

What has pushed Medicare?

Besides the efforts of people who fought for it, many demographic factors pushed Medicare forward. For one thing, Baby Boomers retiring at record rates over the past 20 years means their health care needs land upon Medicare.

The Congressional Budget Office is projecting increased need for Medicare spending. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for Medicare shows no signs of letting up.

When was Medicare established? - Affordable Care Act

The Benefits of Private Insurance

Departing from Medicare’s governmental fee-for-service program, private insurers tend to emphasize consumer preferences.  In short, private insurance carriers compete, meaning that plans and benefits continue to raise the bar year after year. More than that, private Medicare health plans come from established private health insurance carriers around the country. Medicare mandates each plan from each carrier to meet or exceed Medicare standards of health coverage.

As a whole, one main reason for Medicare Advantage simply relates to saving money. Even with Original Medicare, the government enters contracts with a few regional organizations who handle operations like billing, claims, reimbursements, and other administrative needs.

With Medicare Advantage, these types of overhead costs land upon the private insurance carriers, whose capacity more efficiently divides and conquers the workload. In turn, government saves Medicare funds while Medicare beneficiaries gain access to benefits like dental, vision, and hearing.

What is a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan?

What about insurance through my employer?

If you still work after age 65, you may be eligible for benefits under your employee benefits plan. Many insurance companies work with employers to offer coverage using a payroll deduction for premiums.

Keep in mind, that some health insurance programs tied to employment may end upon retirement.

If you receive health insurance from an employer when you could otherwise start Medicare, find out whether your job-offered plan is portable. If you cannot take employer insurance after leaving your job, then Medicare Parts A and B becomes essential.

Shop and Compare Insurance Policies

When was Medicare established?

When you are eligible for Medicare, private insurance helps manage unforeseen health issues that might come up. Medicare health plans offer a wide variety of health care benefits for your situation.

Compare Medicare health insurance plans today and secure coverage for your future. Use our free tool below to start!

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