An Intro to the Medicare Healthcare System

An Intro to the Medicare Healthcare System

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The Birth of the U.S. Medicare Healthcare System

Graphic Courtesy Samreen Al, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On July 30th, 1965, President Lyndon B Johnson signed into law a bill that led to the creation of the taxpayer-supported Medicare healthcare system. The original Medicare program included Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance).  

Over the years, Congress has made changes to Medicare, including expanding the program to cover disabled people with end-stage renal disease and people 65 or older that select Medicare coverage.

The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) ushered in private health insurance provider plans approved by Medicare.  The MMA legislation expanded the Medicare program to include an optional prescription drug benefit, known as Medicare Part D.  

Medicare Advantage Plans, sometimes referred to as Part C or MA Plans, were introduced by healthcare insurance companies. It's important to note that Medicare Advantage Plans are private insurance plans that supplement the taxpayer-supported Medicare program, including the optional prescription drug benefit, referred to as Medicare Part D.

Recent news reports of Medicare Advantage plans dodging auditors and overcharging taxpayers by millions, may have you reconsidering MA plans, based on findings from a lawsuit pursued by Kaiser Health News.

Today, the Medicare program provides care for an estimated 64 million U.S. Citizens. As of October 2021, the total Medicare enrollment is 63,964,675. Original Medicare enrollment (Part A & B) is 36,045,321; Medicare Advantage and Other Health Plan enrollment is 27,919,354. 

Like the U.S. Social Security Retirement program, the Medicare program is vital to maintaining the health and wellness of America's aging population. The Medicare and Social Security programs need to be proactively managed to ensure benefits can be provided for millions of Americans that rely on vital taxpayer-funded healthcare and financial services.

About This Medicare Healthcare Series

As members of the Baby Boom generation continue to progress toward retirement and become eligible for health care services through Medicare, I decided to research expert guidance, informational resources, current issues, and challenges associated with the Medicare program.

The goal of this article and those that will follow, is to provide educational and information resources to enable retiring business professionals achieve the following objectives:

* Quickly get up-to-speed on the Medicare program and the benefits the program provides.

* Enroll in Medicare within the specified timeframe, with an educated and informed plan of action for continued personal healthcare.

* Make informed decisions on supplemental Medicare insurance programs.

* Be aware of current issues and developments that can significantly affect Medicare healthcare services, quality, cost, and delivery.

Medicare 101: Insights from Experts

Let's begin our Medicare learning journey with The Method to the Madness, an introduction to Medicare by Marvin Musick, an approved Medicare Subject Matter Expert and Co-Founder of the™.

In future articles, we'll explore other perspectives, educational, and informational resources provided by the Medicare program and other subject matter experts.

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