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Generations: Medicare at 50 Years

Published in a special Summer 2015 edition of the journal Generations on Medicare’s 50th anniversary, these six articles by Kaiser Family Foundation staff reflect on Medicare’s history, evolution and future, including a look at lessons and challenges, the Medicare and Medicaid partnership, coverage, the role of private plans, Medicare’s role for women, and the public opinion about the program. Foundation Senior Vice President Tricia Neuman served as co-editor, along with National Coalition on Health Care President and CEO John Rother. The articles are available courtesy of the American Society on Aging, which publishes Generations.

Poverty Among Seniors: An Updated Analysis of National and State Level Poverty Rates Under the Official and Supplemental Poverty Measures

This brief presents data on poverty rates among seniors, as context for understanding the implications of potential changes to federal and state programs that help to bolster financial security among older adults. The analysis presents national and state-level poverty rates among people ages 65 and older, based on two measures from the U.S. Census Bureau, using data from the 2014 Current Population Survey (CPS): the official poverty measure and the Supplemental Poverty Measure.

Medicare’s Income-Related Premiums: A Data Note

This data note presents new information to help set a context for understanding the implications of recent changes to Medicare’s income-related premiums incorporated in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), a new law to repeal and replace Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula for physician payments. It describes current requirements with respect to the income-related premiums under Medicare Part B and Part D, including the number and share of Medicare beneficiaries who are estimated to pay income-related premiums and revenues raised from the income-related premium, based on data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary (OACT). It also explains the recently enacted changes in MACRA that will affect some higher-income people on Medicare who are already paying income-related premiums, beginning in 2018.

Reading the Stars: Nursing Home Quality Star Ratings, Nationally and by State

This issue brief presents national and state-level analysis of nursing homes based on the Five-Star Quality Rating System, recently updated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to help consumers compare nursing homes when selecting one for themselves or their family members. The issue brief finds that more than one-third (36%) of the nation’s 15,500 nursing homes certified by Medicare or Medicaid received relatively low ratings of 1 or 2 stars (out of a possible 5 stars). In 11 states, at least 40 percent of nursing homes in the state have 1- or 2-star ratings. In 23 states, however, at least half of the nursing homes have 4- or 5- star ratings. This issue brief discusses relevant policy considerations regarding nursing home quality—a serious issue in light of the vulnerability of the nursing home population and recent reports of problems arising from inadequate staffing, fire safety hazards, and substandard care.

Medicare 101: What You Need To Know

Hosted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Alliance for Health Reform, this briefing reviewed basic questions about the Medicare program, such as: What services does Medicare provide, and how does Medicare pay for these services? How is Medicare financed? What changes did the Affordable Care Act (ACA) make to Medicare? How fast is Medicare spending growing? What are current proposals to strengthen Medicare for the future, and what are prospects for action in the new Congress?

The Story of Medicare: A Timeline

Written and produced by Foundation staff, The Story of Medicare: A Timeline serves as a visual timeline of Medicare’s history, including the debate that led to its creation in 1965 and subsequent changes, such as the passage and repeal of the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act in the 1980s, the Medicare Modernization Act in 2003, and the Affordable Care Act in 2012.

Medicare and Medicaid at 50 and Beyond

This collection of videos, reports, interactives tools and other content examine the history of Medicare and Medicaid and look ahead to future opportunities and challenges.

Medicare Timeline

In 1965, Medicare was created to provide health insurance for the nation’s seniors beginning in 1966. Fifty years later, the program covers over 54 million people – primarily seniors but also others under age 65 with permanent disabilities. Medicare helps pay for a range of medical services, including hospital stays, physician visits, preventive benefits, and starting in 2006, prescription drugs. This timeline provides an overview of changes that have shaped the Medicare program over the past five decades.