A blog about Medicare. What you and your employees need to know

Happy 55th Birthday Medicare!

Author: Lora Drummond

Medicare Transition Specialist

Posted: 07/27/2020

Its time for cake and a little entertainment.

Medicare turns 55 on July 30, 2020. 

Curious how Medicare got started?

Who were the recipients of the first Medicare cards?

What’s a birthday celebration without a little entertainment? We have a fun video from our talk show 65 and Counting that you can enjoy that explains how Medicare started and we also sort out the “alphabet” of Medicare.

Did you know…

July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the federally funded programs, Medicare and Medicaid, into law. Original Medicare (Parts A & B) would provide hospital and medical coverage to a large group of Americans over age 65 receiving Social Security benefits but who were lacking access to medical care because they couldn’t afford it on a fixed income. Only approximately 50-60% of people over the age of 65 had health insurance. Mostly because older adults would pay more than three times as much for health insurance as younger people, so they went without the coverage. 

July 1, 1966, Original Medicare (Parts A & B) coverage took effect for 19 million enrolled beneficiaries to receive hospital and post-hospital extended care.

In 1972  President Nixon signed into law the first major change. Medicare coverage was extended for those who are severely disabled, as well as for those with end-stage renal disease.

Parts C & D were added to provide additional standardized coverage, but they would be sold by independent insurance companies to subsidize medical costs not covered by Original Medicare and to expand coverage to prescription drugs. 

1980’s– Part C Medigap supplemental insurance (private insurance plans) were added to give beneficiaries more health insurance plan choices to cover the ‘gaps’ left by Original Medicare.

1997 – Medicare Advantage plans = Medicare+Choice signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1997 and renamed Medicare Advantage in 2003.

2006 – Part D for Prescription Drug coverage was added by George W Bush in 2003 and became effective in 2006 through private health plans.

 Quick Facts:

  • Medicare contracts with regional insurance companies to process over one billion fee-for-service claims per year.
  • In 1965, the budget for Medicare was around $10 billion.
  • For the decade 2010–2019 Medicare is projected to cost 6.4 trillion dollars.
  • As of February 2019, there were 60.6 million people enrolled in Medicare. Enrollment has been rapidly growing as Baby Boomers turn 65.
  • As of April 2020 CMS reports, over 62.3 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare: 

60% (37.5 million) in Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS), also known as Original Medicare. 

40% (24.8 million) in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. 

  • Did you know the ‘donut hole’ coverage gap finally closed as a result of ACA this year? As of 2020, enrollees with standard Part D plans will pay 25 percent of the cost of their drugs until they reach the catastrophic coverage limit (as opposed to paying the full cost of the drugs while in the donut hole, which had been the case before the ACA started to close the donut hole in 2010/2011).

*Sources: CMS .gov  Medicare -Medicaid Milestones 2015, CMS’s program history 50th Annv.

The video above is from our new “65 and Counting” Talk Show

A weekly presentation of retirement talk to educate and entertain! 🎤

American Retirement Advisors and The Medicare Architects invite you to tune in to a new addition to their lineup of expert Medicare and retirement information support.

Now available on Spotify, Amazon, Apple Podcast, Buzzsprout, and Stitcher so you can listen anywhere!

Turn in to listen to all the entertaining episodes and meet our advisors!

Who are our listeners?

-EMPLOYEES working past age 65 and those planning to retire.

-HR PROFESSIONALS managing an aging workforce and compliantly transitioning employees to Medicare.

-CAREGIVERS interested in topics to help their senior clientele

-RETIREES asking budget, wealth management, and insurance questions


By adding Medicare education to your benefits package you are adding unrealized total rewards and providing more choices for your employees. Having a Medicare transition team creates confidence in your ability to compliantly educate and transition eligible employees to Medicare while reducing costs for your employees and boosting your bottom line.

Ready to get started?
Check out our blog weekly for new resources, and helpful tips and tricks to build your Medicare transition strategy.

Your Medicare Transition Partner
– Lora

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