What is Medicare

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Medicare is a form of health insurance partially-funded by the U.S. Federal Government that has been a vital way of receiving financial assistance with medical bills, prescriptions, and other healthcare-related expenses. The use of Medicare is generally limited to a few groups of people and was originally intended to focus on senior citizens when it was passed into law in 1965. Unlike Medicaid, which has no requirement for an individual recipient to pay into a fund through their taxes, Medicare is open to almost every individual. However, the level of assistance from the federal government to Medicare recipients will change depending on previous payments made through their taxes.

The History of Medicare

Understanding Medicare means looking back at the history of this form of health insurance and the fights that took place to bring it into being. Medicare was not the first attempt to bring a form of universal healthcare to the U.S., which began in 1912 and the Presidency of Teddy Roosevelt. The 1910s were a time of great upheaval in the world with the roots of the U.K.’s National Health Service laid under the leadership of Prime Minister Lloyd George. In the U.S., President Roosevelt was fighting a similar battle to try and bring a form of government-backed health insurance to the people of the U.S. Roosevelt would fail in his attempts, as would a number of presidents, including John F. Kennedy.

Eventually, President Lydon Johnson would be the President to sign the Medicare law and start the program. The first two U.S. citizens to sign up for Medicare were President Harry S. Truman and First Lady, Bess when the program went live in 1966.

Who Can Receive Medicare Insurance?

The main social group who have been targeted for joining Medicare are senior citizens aged 65 and above. There are a number of other groups who may be able to make a claim to be enrolled in the Medicare insurance program, including those under the age of 65 who are affected by disabilities and learning issues. When a U.S. citizen is affected by some forms of medical conditions they may be able to qualify for Medicare, these illnesses and diseases include permanent kidney failure and Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Medicare health insurance is open to all U.S. citizens who reach senior citizen status and are looking to obtain assistance with their health insurance from the Federal Government. What should be remembered is Medicare is not a form of universal healthcare because eligibility is based upon the payments made in taxes, similar to those made for social security payments. Almost all U.S. citizens have the opportunity to apply for Medicare plans, but those who have not made frequent payments may have to pay more for their health insurance than those who have made regular taxation payments.

The Different Parts of Medicare

There are three parts to Medicare that can be obtained by any person who qualifies for this form of health insurance. The three commonly seen portions of Medicare are parts A, B, and D that are backed by the Federal Government. There is a fourth section of Medicare, known as Part C or Medicare Advantage, which is a private health insurance program.

Medicare Part A

This is often referred to as a hospital health insurance program that can be free of premiums for those who qualify. Part A is a form of government-backed health insurance that covers the time spent in hospitals by a recipient and covers other inpatient stays at facilities including skilled nursing homes and hospice care.

One of the benefits of Medicare Part A is the fact those who qualify will usually be able to receive their coverage without a monthly premium if they have worked for 10 years and paid Medicare taxes during that time. This is also available to those who have not paid into the Medicare taxation system for as long, but they could be asked to pay a monthly premium to maintain their coverage.

Medicare Part B

This health insurance program covers a range of doctor and outpatient appointments and treatments, including regular checkups with a family physician. The areas covered by Medicare Part B can include blood tests, x-rays, screenings for diabetes, and many more important aspects of routine healthcare to make sure older Americans stay healthy throughout their lifetime.

In terms of payments, a deductible must be met before Medicare Part B will begin to pay for this form of health coverage. Most bills are covered to 80 percent, but the U.S. Government does allow recipients to apply for Medicaid if they have a low income to cover these costs.

Medicare Part D

This is a privately-operated form of Medicare that covers the cost of medications and prescriptions obtained through participating pharmacies. Medicare Part D is only offered through private insurance companies, which means the issue of premiums varies from company to company with premiums and deductibles often being different.

Medicare Part C

Often referred to as a Medicare Advantage Plan, this is an additional plan available to those who qualify for both Medicare parts A and B. Although this is a form of private health insurance, providers are approved by Medicaid and Medicare Services Department to make sure the services offered are adequate.

The benefits of obtaining a Medicare Advantage plan include an expansion of the diagnostic and treatment options available to every insurance recipient who joins one of these programs. Medicare Part C will usually include prescription drug benefits meaning Part D plans are not required with this form of health insurance. There are many different forms of services offered through Medicare Advantage plans, including the inclusion of vision exams and dental treatments with some of these health insurance programs.

There are many different forms of Medicare available to those who qualify as recipients in the U.S., but these cover specific services through government-approved companies who meet their tough standards. Medicare has improved and expanded over the course of the last six decades and has become a major part of the healthcare on offer to the majority of people over 65 or with specific medical conditions.


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