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Medicare Timeline

In 1965, Medicare was created to provide health insurance for the nation’s seniors beginning in 1966. Fifty years later, the program covers over 54 million people – primarily seniors but also others under age 65 with permanent disabilities. Medicare helps pay for a range of medical services, including hospital stays, physician visits, preventive benefits, and starting in 2006, prescription drugs. This timeline provides an overview of changes that have shaped the Medicare program over the past five decades.

The Affordable Care Act: Three Years Post-Enactment

On March 23, 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law. Although the date for full implementation of most provisions of the law is January 1, 2014, the ACA has already led to progress toward expanded coverage of the uninsured; improved access and better care delivery models; broader…

Medicare Spending Limits: Issues and Implications

Several major deficit-reduction plans include provisions that would impose an explicit limit on the growth in Medicare spending. In general, such limits would trigger cuts if Medicare spending grows more rapidly than a target, such as the growth in the economy. This brief prepared for the Kaiser Family Foundation describes…

Do We Know If Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans Are Special?

This report describes the history of special needs plans, how they fit into the larger Medicare Advantage marketplace, and what information could help assess whether these plans are performing differently from other Medicare Advantage plans. Special needs plans serve individuals such as those who are institutionalized, people covered under both…

Estimates of Medicare Beneficiaries’ Out-of-Pocket Drug Spending in 2006

This report projects the impact of the new Medicare drug benefit on out-of-pocket spending for people who enroll in 2006. This analysis from November 2004 estimates that 6.9 million beneficiaries are projected to be affected by the coverage gap (the so-called “doughnut hole”) in the standard Part D drug benefit.…

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.