This past week, Americans age 65 and older celebrated the 48th anniversary since Medicare benefits were signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. The July 30, 1965 signing ceremony was held at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, in honor of President Harry S. Truman’s 1945 public commitment to a senior health initiative.
Since its inception, the Medicare program has experienced a number of changes, beginning with the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA), signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2003, which added outpatient prescription drug benefits and other programs related to issues that affect senior health.
In June of this year, Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius highlighted some of the most recent changes to the program, how they have benefited senior adults to date, and what benefits Medicare enrollees can look forward to in the foreseeable future.
Sebelius noted that in the first six months of 2013, more than 16.5 million seniors with traditional Medicare benefits took advantage of at least one preventive service – including wellness visits, mammograms and cancer screenings – with no out-of-pocket expenses.
Her report also noted that in 2012, coordination of care between doctors and hospitals resulted in 70,000 fewer avoidable re-admissions to the hospital, the first time in the history of the Medicare program that the numbers have seen a decrease from the previous year.
Currently, more than 48 million Americans are enrolled in the Medicare health benefit program. Each fall, the Open Enrollment Period allows adults ages 65 and over to make changes to their existing Medicare plan without paying a penalty.
From October 15 through December 7, Medicare enrollees may change from “Original Medicare” to “Medicare Advantage,” or vice-versa; switch to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage, or from one that offers such coverage to one that does not; join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, or switch from one prescription plan to another; or drop Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage completely.
For more information, speak to an independent insurance counselor certified in Medicare coverage, who can answer your questions and help you choose the right coverage for your specific situation.
An independent agent also may be able to help with changes such as marriage or moving to a new address.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is easier for Windsong homeowners. Each Windsong active retirement community was designed to help Boomers cultivate new friendships and make it enjoyable to stay active, with walkable streets and a private fitness center in the clubhouse, neighbors with similar life-stage experiences, and home designs that maximize accessibility, minimize hassles and provide opportunities to enjoy an active lifestyle without sacrificing style or luxury.
Welcome home to Windsong – Where Life’s A Breeze!