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Basic info: Medicare 101

A look at the safety net protecting more than 61 million Americans

Medicare is a federal health insurance program created in the 1960s to provide a safety net for America’s senior citizens. The program has since been expanded to also cover people with long-term disabilities as well as those with ALS or end-stage renal disease.

Medicare is the largest single health care payer in the nation (Medicaid has more enrollees, but it’s jointly funded by the federal government and each state; Medicare is truly a single-payer system, run by the federal government).

Medicare tends to be popular with beneficiaries, and consistently receives better consumer approval than commercial health insurance. As of April 2021, there were more than 63 million Americans covered by Medicare.

Read more about Medicare eligibility and enrollment or browse our Medicare FAQs.

What is Medicare? photo

What is Medicare?

October 7, 2021 – Medicare is the federal health insurance program created to provide health coverage for Americans aged 65 and older. Get more information… Read more

A brief history of Medicare in America photo

A brief history of Medicare in America

October 7, 2021 – How and why was Medicare launched? Credit goes to President Harry S Truman and his administration for making the idea of government-led… Read more

Medicare and the Affordable Care Act photo

Medicare and the Affordable Care Act

August 25, 2021 – Learn how the Affordable Care Act sought to reform the Medicare program by reducing spending and increasing services for beneficiaries.… Read more

Your Medicare card: a user’s guide photo

Your Medicare card: a user’s guide

July 10, 2021 – Key takeaways Most beneficiaries receive their Medicare card about three months before their 65th birthday. If you don’t receive your… Read more

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