Medicare: Cost and Implications for the Future

1965 Words8 Pages
Medicare is a social policy many of our seniors look to for their stability when they reach 65

years of age. Prior to Medicare, barely half of the population age 65 and older had health

insurance and of those who did, the coverage was repeatedly narrow. Individuals whose health

had worsened could have their coverage stopped or premiums increased (Aaron & Lambrew,

2008). Started in 1965 as a portion of the Social Security Act, Medicare’s chief objective is to

offer economic protection against the amount paid by persons 65 and over for hospital and

physician treatment. Fundamental Medicare coverage continued to focus on 60 days of

hospitalization and 60 days of nursing home care, coverage for doctor’s bills was even an

optional part of the plan. The elderly were the primary focus of coverage, and the social security

approach was to be utilized as a framework for financing (Kronenfeld, 2011). In 1972, benefits

were extended to younger individuals with permanent disabilities. Today, Medicare is a resource

of health care for 45 million people, including 7 million who are younger than age 65 and

disabled (Hooyman & Kiyak, 2011).

Medicare Part A now includes any person aged sixty-five or older who has been employed for

ten or more years subject to employment payroll taxes. This coverage also includes their current

and previous spouses at age sixty-five. For the most part, the Medicare population consists of

white women, between the ages of sixty-five and eighty-four, in good or moderate health, and

residing with a spouse (Aaron & Lambrew, 2008). Older people who have Medicare only are

inclined to visit the doctor less, have fewer hospital stays, and purchase smaller amounts of


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...tidisciplinary perspective.

(9th Ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.

Kronenfeld, J.J., (2011). Health and medical issues today: Medicare. Santa Barbara, CA:


Medicare: Past, present and future. (2013). Retrieved from

Social Security Administration. (2013). Social Security: Medicare. Retrieved from

Stefanacci, R.G. (2013). Looking ahead to issues affecting geriatric care in 2013. Annals of

Long-Term Care: Clinical Care and Aging. 2013, 21(11):46-50.

Zuckerman, S., Waidmann, T., Berenson, R., & Hadley, J. (2010). Clarifying sources of

geographic differences in medicare spending. New England Journal of Medicine; 363:54-62.

doi: 10.1056/NEJMsa0909253
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