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Medicare Eventually Medicare the nations major federal health insurance program will affect everyone In fact if you pay taxes Medicare already affects everyone because a portion of taxes goes to finance part of the Medicare program Although you are paying into the Medicare program during your working years you will probably rely on its services in the future In fact persons enrolled for Medicare coverage increased from 191 million in 1966 to a projected 381 million 1996 a 95 percent increase Table 1 - Medicare Enrollment Trends Total PersonsAged PersonsDisabled Persons JulyIn Millions 1966191191- 1970205205- 197525022822 198028525530 198531128229 199034230933 199134931534 199235632036 199336332438 199436932841 199537333043 1996est38133447 1997est38633650 1998est39133853 One might ask what is Medicare Well Medicare is our countrys health insurance program for people age 65 or older certain people with disabilities who are under 65 and people of any age who have permanent kidney failure It provides basic protection against the cost of health care but it does not cover all your medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care You can choose one of two ways to get benefits under Medicare the traditional fee-for-service system or the managed care program The Health Care Financing Administration is the agency in charge of the Medicare program There are two parts of Medicare Hospital Insurance also called Part A Medicare Part A Medicare is financed by a portion of your payroll FICA tax that also pays for Social Security The second part of Medicare is Medical Insurance also called Part B Medicare Part B Medicare is partly financed by monthly premiums paid by people who choose to enroll People are automatically enrolled in Part B when you become entitled to Part A However because they must pay a monthly premium for Part B coverage and have the option of paying for the coverage or turning it down Each part of Medicare covers different kinds of medical costs and has different rules about
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