Overview of Medicare Spending
Medicare, the federal health insurance program for 57 million people ages 65 and over and people with permanent disabilities, helps to pay for hospital and physician visits, prescription drugs, and other acute and post-acute care services. In 2015, spending on Medicare accounted for 15% of the federal budget (Figure 1).
Similar but Not the Same: How Medicare Per Capita Spending Compares for Younger and Older BeneficiariesWritten by Kaiser Family Foundation Published in Medicare News
Medicare is most commonly known as a health insurance program for people ages 65 and older, but, since 1973, the program has also provided coverage to millions of people with permanent disabilities who are younger than age 65.1 People under age 65 qualify for Medicare after they receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments for 24 months.
Each year, Medicare Advantage enrollees have the opportunity to change plans during an annual enrollment period. This opportunity is important because Medicare Advantage plans can make changes in their benefits, cost-sharing, provider networks, and premiums each year, and beneficiaries’ health needs may change from one year to the next.
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