This nation has been debating national health insurance since 1945. President Harry Truman task Congress with the responsibility of creating legislation that would establish a national health insurance plan. After twenty years of debate, President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid, into law in 1965. But this does not answer the question “is Medicare Free?”
Medicare is an insurance program administered by the government, to provide insurance coverage to people 65 and over who qualify. But is Medicare Free?
All persons who are 65 and older, who have lived legally in the US for more than 5 years, and they or their spouse have paid Medicare taxes for 10 years, or persons under 65 who are disabled, and are receiving Social Security benefits, all qualify for Medicare. There are other categories and populations that qualify as well. But is Medicare Free?
Medicare is constantly evolving and changing. Initially, Medicare was divided into Part A and Part B. Part A or Hospital Insurance, covers inpatient hospital stays including room and board, tests, doctor’s fees and convalescent care if needed. That still does not answer the question “Is Medicare Free”, but it does bring us to Part B. Part B is a medical insurance pays for things not paid for by Part A such as outpatient services, testing and durable medical supplies. This is an optional component of Medicare and many people choose not to receive it, if they continue to work. There are also Part C and Part D of Medicare which offer unique features of their own.
Many people do not pay a premium for Part A, as long as they have contributed to the Social Security system for a minimum of forty quarters. Since the inception of the program, there has been a premium for Medicare Part B. The initial premium was $3.00 per month and the current premium is $110.50 or higher for people who began receiving medicare during 2010. There are many more complex guidelines that would have to be examined to determine the exact cost of Medicare but it is safe to deduce that it is not free.