Medicare is a social insurance program pays healthcare expenses for seniors over the age of 65 years. Since its introduction in the 1960s, it has expanded the number of seniors who have access to healthcare to the point where only 2% are currently uninsured. However, Medicare does not pay all costs, and the gap can be costly. Many life insurance companies offer Medicare Supplemental Health Insurance to cover costs that Medicare does not pay.
What is Medicare and how does it help seniors?
Medicare is a social insurance program that was instituted in 1966 and is managed by the U.S. government. It provides medical care for seniors over the age of 65, who have paid into the system over their working lives though their payroll taxes.
Medicare has expanded the number of American seniors who have access to healthcare and medical insurance. Before the program started, in 1962, less than half of all of Americans over 65 had health insurance coverage. By 2015, only 2% of seniors over 65 were without health insurance coverage. In 2013, 27 million Americans were covered by Medicare. This included free preventive services like flu shots and screenings for cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.
Gaps in Medicare coverage
However, Medicare does not pay all medical costs.The gap in coverage can be costly. As of 2016, Medicare paid only 55% of costs for brand name drugs, which was the same amount as the previous year. It paid only 42% of costs for generic drugs, though this was an increase from 35% on the previous year.
The real costs of the Medicare coverage gap for health care expenses can be substantial. For example, in 2012, households paid an average of $4,722 for Medicare expenses, according to Statista.
What is Medicare Supplemental Health Insurance?
To help seniors pay the costs of drugs that are not covered by Medicare, life insurance companies offer Medicare Supplemental Health Insurance. This insurance allows seniors to see any doctor who accepts Medicare, anywhere in the U.S. Coverage can begin immediately without any waiting period, so there are no restrictions on pre existing conditions.
Medicare is a social insurance program that has successfully expanded healthcare and insurance for nearly all seniors. For costs not covered by Medicare, life insurance companies offer supplemental health insurance policies.