How is Medicare administered?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, administers Medicare.

In Medicare's first dozen-and-a-half years, there was little oversight on claims and payments from Medicare to providers. The result: inflated claims and increasing health care costs, putting a major strain on the Medicare trust fund. In 1983, Medicare went to a fixed-rate payment plan, ending the practice of simply paying whatever doctors and hospitals billed the program.

Today, participating providers accept Medicare payments as "paid in full" for services. Non-participating providers can charge patients no more than 15 percent beyond the Medicare-approved amount.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.