Greater than the increases in obesity, and we’ve gotten a lot fatter! Since it was signed into law in 1965, Medicare also has grown tremendously. In the beginning, seniors had virtually no choices and purchased a fee for service plan. Claims were handled by an intermediary such as Blue Cross. During the 1970s, Medicare added a few plans run by private insurance companies.
Now, Medicare provides healthcare coverage to more than 46 million Americans including seniors, the disabled, and people living with kidney failure and HIV/AIDS (that compares to the 19 million that enrolled in Medicare in 1966). Plans have been expanded to include options such as Part A (hospital insurance), Part B (medical insurance), Medicare advantage which covers urgent and emergency care and prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D). More preventive services such as annual wellness exams are now covered. Supplemental policies such as Medigap are also available to fill certain gaps in coverage.