If Medicare were a person, it would be getting closer and closer to qualifying for Medicare. July 30 marks the 48th anniversary of the enactment of the healthcare program that helps elderly Americans get the care they need and deserve. Medicare was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 as part of his Great Society platform. At the time, only about half of older adults had health insurance; the rest of the elderly population either could not afford it or could not access healthcare services. As with any long-lasting piece of legislation, it has undergone many changes over the years, some small, some large.
Home Care Assistance takes a look back at nearly a half-century of Medicare history:
Balanced Budget Act of 1997: With passage of this law, Congress created an alternative to traditional Medicare, which has Part A to cover hospital expenses and Part B to cover medical and doctors expenses. The Balanced Budget Act introduced Medicare Part C (now also known as Medicare Advantage), which enables an eligible person to opt out of the traditional federally-funded insurance program and instead enroll in a private health care plan. The private insurer then contracts with the federal government to get reimbursed for supplying coverage to the enrollee.
Medicare Modernization Act of 2003: Signed by President George W. Bush, this law added Medicare Part D into to the fold. Part D plans, which are open to all persons enrolled in traditional Medicare but are not required, are a means by which seniors can get prescription drugs. The plans are not standardized; each plan can choose which drugs to cover, as well as how much of the cost will still be placed on the enrollee.
The future: The Baby Boomers are rapidly approaching the eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security, at which time healthcare costs (which are already escalating at a ferocious pace) will shoot up even further, leaving the federal government to pick up the tab. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is seeking to drive down insurance premiums for both public and private insurance, but the law’s success will not be measureable until it fully takes effect in the coming years.
Since its inception, Medicare has always been there for older adults. Since the founding of Home Care Assistance in 2002, so have we. Our proprietary Balanced Care Method and the unmatched expertise of our professionally trained caregivers are helping seniors remain in their homes and age comfortably and safely. To learn more about how we’re changing the way the world ages, give us a call today!