Did you know that Medicare turns 50 years old today?
Today's older Americans still grapple with challenges that senior citizens have faced for years, like access to quality health coverage. As recently as the 1960s, older adults had to pay more for insurance than young people, rendering health care unaffordable and unavailable.
To remedy the situation, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Social Security Act into law on July 30th, 1965. The bill included a landmark program called Medicare. Medicare created a way for Americans to pay into a system that would eventually provide them with coverage when they reached retirement age. The first official enrollees? President Harry Truman, who was 81 at the time, and his wife Bess.
Because of this trailblazing legislation, millions of Americans now have an easier and more affordable pathway to hospital insurance, medical insurance and prescription medications. In the past 15 years alone, Medicare enrollees have lived longer, saved more money and spent far less time in hospitals. The program has expanded and improved over the years, but it has constantly served as a way for our older friends and family to receive the care that they often need and always deserve.
If you need a refresher on how Medicare works and the ways in which it can help you, or if you just want to learn more about this lifesaving program on its 50th birthday, take a look at these useful resources:
- The Congressional Budget Office, the non-partisan agency that provides Congress with economic information, recently issued new data on Medicare budget estimates. The report shows Medicare spending projections have dropped, which has been the trend. This an important development because health care makes up a large portion of the annual federal budget.
- In May we celebrated Older Americans Month. This year's theme, "Get Into the Act," empowered seniors to take charge of their health and get involved in their communities
- Even though school's out for summer, you can stay sharp with a little pop quiz on Medicare Part D. See what you know by taking our quiz--and then see if your friends are up for the challenge!
Since Medicare's inception, Americans have been able to stay healthy as they grow older. We're thankful for all it has accomplished in the past 50 years, and we're confident that it will achieve even more in the next 50 and beyond!