Medicare Facts and Figures

*Update 5/24/2016- Since the original post was written in 2010, these figures have greatly increased.  Today, Medicare rolls are up to 55 million older adults and people with disabilities.  The Medicare budget still accounts for 15% of federal spending in the US.  In 2015, Medicare spending equalled $632 billion, that's up $128 billion since 2010. Ten years from now, Medicare spending is projected to grow to $1,085 billion.  There is much discussion and proposed about Medicare restructuring to keep up with the growth in enrollment… stay tuned.

Medicare Facts and Figures, 2010

Did you know… That Medicare was created in 1965 as a federal health insurance program for those age 65 and older, regardless of income or medical history?  Today (2010) Medicare covers 46 million Americans, and will encompass 15% of our federal budget.  That's $504 BILLION dollars (says the CBO)!  The Kaiser Family Foundation publishes an annual medicare fact sheet called “Medicare At A Glance” which we will summarize in this post.  Click through (read more) to explore further… The following facts and figures are credited to The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation's Medicare Fact Sheet entitled “Medicare At A Glance

Demographics of Medicare Recipients:

  • Medicare covers a diverse population- 47% have incomes below 200% of the poverty line, and 44% of recipients have 3 or more chronic conditions.  83% of the Medicare insured are under age 65 and permanently disabled.

Medicare Structure:

  • Part A–  Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing facility stays, home health visits, and hospice care.
  • Part B–  Part B pays for physician visits, outpatient services, preventative services, and home health visits.
  • Part C–  Refers to the Medicare Advantage Program where beneficiaries can enroll in private insurance plans (like HMO's) where they can receive additional benefits like hearing exams and other services.
  • Part D–  Is the voluntary government subsidized outpatient prescription drug benefit plan.  Part D can also cover individuals with very low incomes.

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