Medicare & Medicaid

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the bill that led to Medicare and Medicaid. The original Medicare program included Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance). Today these 2 parts are called “Original Medicare.” Over the years, Congress has made changes to Medicare:

More people have become eligible.

For example, in 1972, Medicare was expanded to cover the disabled, people with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) requiring dialysis or kidney transplant, and people 65 or older that select Medicare coverage.

More benefits, like prescription drug coverage, have been offered.

At first, Medicaid gave medical insurance to people getting cash assistance. Today, a much larger group is covered:

     Low-income families

     Pregnant women

     People of all ages with disabilities

     People who need long-term care

States can tailor their Medicaid programs to best serve the people in their state, so there’s a wide variation in the services offered.

Medicare Part D Prescription Drug benefit

The Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) made the biggest changes to Medicare in 38 years.  Under the MMA, private health plans approved by Medicare became known as Medicare Advantage Plans. These plans are sometimes called “Part C” or “MA Plans.”

The MMA also expanded Medicare to include an optional prescription drug benefit, “Part D,” which went into effect in 2006.