Eventually, Medicare, the nation's major federal health insurance program, will affect everyone.In fact, if you pay taxes, Medicare already affects everyone because a portion of taxes goes to finance part of the Medicare program.Although you are paying into the Medicare program during your working years, you will probably rely on its services in the future.In fact, persons enrolled for Medicare coverage increased from 19.1 million in 1966 to a projected 38.1 million 1996, a 95 percent increase.
Table 1 – Medicare Enrollment Trends
Total Persons Aged Persons Disabled Persons
One might ask what is Medicare?Well, Medicare is our country’s health insurance program for people age 65 or older, certain people with disabilities who are under 65, and people of any age who have permanent kidney failure.It provides basic protection against the cost of health care, but it does not cover all your medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care.You can choose one of two ways to get benefits under Medicare: the traditional fee-for-service system or the managed care program.The Health Care Financing Administration is the agency in charge of the Medicare program.There are two parts of Medicare.Hospital Insurance (also called Part A Medicare.)Part A Medicare is financed by a portion of your payroll (FICA) tax that also pays for Social Security.The second part of Medicare is Medical Insurance (also called Part B Medicare.)Part B Medicare is partly financed by monthly premiums paid by people who choose to enroll.
People are automatically enrolled in Part B when you become entitled to Part A. However, because they must pay a monthly premium for Part B coverage, and have the option of paying for the coverage or turning it down.Each part of Medicare covers different kinds of medical costs and has different rules about enrolling.In order to be eligible for Medicare, one has to meet certain regulations. Most peopl…

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