The ABCs—and D!—of Medicare

WatchBlog: Official Blog of the U.S. Government Accountability Office

Thumbnail Health CareWe do a lot of reports on complex Medicare-related issues, such as payment rates and ensuring program integrity. But we’ve also found that Medicare itself can be difficult to understand. Can’t tell your Medicare parts apart? Today’s WatchBlog has you covered on the basics.

Who gets Medicare?

Since 1965, Medicare has been available for most people 65 or older and some people under 65 with permanent disabilities. In the early 1970s, people with end-stage renal disease and Lou Gehrig’s (ALS) disease could also apply for Medicare. In 2014, Medicare covered about 54 million people at a cost of over $600 billion.

The Ins and Outs of Original Medicare—Parts A & B

Parts A and B are often called “original Medicare” because they’ve been around since Medicare was established. Part A covers “inpatient” care, for when you’re admitted to a hospital. Medicare spent $265 billion on Part A…

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