Medicare History

The Medicare program debuted in the mid-1960s, a time many people ages 65 and up found themselves unable to get standard health insurance.

Older Americans earn Medicare benefits by paying a qualifying amount of taxes into the system throughout their working years.

Medicare is a federal entitlement program. This means by law, payments must be made to people meeting Medicare eligibility standards.

(Social Security is also a government program paid for by workers via tax dollars.)

As the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) notes, Medicare has helped improve the health – and longevity – of its members.

Medicare was originally designed to help beneficiaries avoid the financial strain a hospital stay could cause, which is why it rolled out with Part A (Hospital Coverage) and Part B (Medical Coverage).

Much has changed with Medicare over the decades. As NASI points out, the use of prescription medications has increased dramatically since the mid-1960s.

As a result, Congress, which must approve any changes to Medicare, incorporated Part D Prescription Drug Program coverage.

Learn more about the history of Medicare:

Medicare History FAQ’s

What is the History of Medicare?

According to Wikipedia, the name "Medicare" was originally given to a program providing medical care for families of people serving in the military; and part of the Dependents' Medical Care Act passed in 1956.President Dwight D. Eisenhower held the first...

read more

Enactment of the 1965 Amendments

With the signing of H.R. 6675 into law on July 30, 1965, the President of the United States created the Medicare program.It comprised two related health insurance plans for people age 65 and over:A hospital insurance plan providing protection against the...

read more

History of Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D, the Prescription Drug Program (PDP), went into effect when President George W. Bush signed the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003.Implemented in 2006, the Act added a PDP benefit to be provided by private...

read more

History of Medicare Advantage

In the 1970s, less than a decade after the beginning of fee for service (FFS) Medicare, Medicare beneficiaries gained the option to receive their Medicare benefits through managed, capitated health plans, mainly Health Maintenance Organizations, as an...

read more

History of Medicare Supplement Plans

The Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1980 expanded home health services by eliminating limits on the number of home health visits, the prior hospitalization requirement, and the deductible for any Medicare Part B benefits.It also required the development of a...

read more

Introduction to Medicare

Medicare is the federal government program that provides health care coverage (health insurance) if you are 65+, under 65 and receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for a certain amount of time, or under 65 and with End-Stage Renal Disease...

read more

Introduction to Low-Income Programs

If you have a limited income, you may be able to get assistance with your health care costs through certain programs:Medicaid: If you have a low monthly income and minimal assets, you may be eligible for coverage through Medicaid to pay Medicare costs,...

read more

Clicking third-party links will open a new tab and will take you away from, LLC does not control the linked sites’ content or link.