Medicare covers nearly 42 million beneficiaries who are elderly, or have a disability or end stage renal disease. Spending on Medicare benefits accounted for 17 percent of the nation’s total health care spending in 2004. The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 made many changes to the program including the addition of a prescription drug benefit (“Part D”), which will begin full implementation in 2006.
Whom does Medicare serve and what services does it provide? How is the program financed? What is the difference between Medicare fee-for-service and Medicare Advantage? What are the basics of the new Medicare drug benefit? What is “Medigap”? How has Medicare attempted to control costs?
To help answer these questions and more, the nonpartisan Alliance for Health Reform and the Kaiser Family Foundation held a May 16 luncheon briefing for those new to the topic of Medicare and those who would like to refresh their knowledge. Panelists included: Tricia Neuman, a vice president and director of the Foundation’s Medicare Policy Project; Linda Fishman, director of the Office of Legislation in HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; and William Scanlon of Health Policy R&D.
Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)