Utopian economies sell free universal healthcare services as their primary milestone. But there are certain economies, which fulfill this dream without suppressing individuals’ right to own property and do business. A few countries which provide universal health care include Australia, Canada, Germany, and Switzerland.
Other countries also adopt one or other form of universal healthcare. The USA is one of such countries which offer a modified form of subsidized healthcare to its citizens. Before moving ahead to learn what is Medicare, let us consider the philosophy of free universal healthcare which is the primary objective of Medicare.
The concept of free universal healthcare was conceived in Germany with its first-ever Sickness Insurance Law. The concept expanded and started including all the citizens within the country and almost all primary healthcare facilities.
This healthcare system operates by using funds from the public as well as beneficiaries in the form of taxes and, using a chain of administrative and medicinal institutions, provides services to patients in the whole economy. This way the burden of healthcare costs is borne by the whole nation irrespective of who is the recipient.
Canada, for example, offers universal healthcare to its citizens. The extent to which each individual would receive healthcare depends on their need and not on their ability to pay.
What is Medicare?
In the USA there is more than one party involved in providing healthcare facilities to the individuals. Although the government offers free healthcare to its citizens, the number of recipients is limited for the insurance provided by the government. Most citizens have to rely on private healthcare insurance providers or pay out of their pocket to cough up medical expenses.
Other than private sector participants in the healthcare market, the US government has also initiated a certain program to subsidize healthcare costs for citizens. Medicare is one such initiative in which the beneficiaries get health insurance coverage from the government in certain conditions.
Who Is Eligible?
The government has extended its financial protection to certain sects of society. There are three different types of people who are eligible for Medicare benefits including:
Elderly citizens, who are over 65 years of age;
Disable citizens, even if they are younger than 65 years of age, who are eligible for Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits and Social Security SSDI benefits;
And Chronic patients suffering from end-stage renal disease.
Parts of Medicare:
These patients receive Medicare protection under four parts.
- The first part, Part A, covers hospital and other types of patient care.
- The second part, Part B includes coverage of consultation related costs.
- The third part, Part C, bundles both Part A and Part B benefits.
- The fourth and last part, Part D, mostly covers prescription drugs.
Who Funds the Program?
These programs are funded by taxes, especially payroll contributions. Although all of these parts combine to give complete coverage against medical costs to the beneficiaries of the Medicare, there are various costs which are still borne by the recipients of these benefits. The first cost of this insurance comes in the form of a minimum of 40 quarterly payments of Federal Insurance Contributions Act taxes. Enrollees pay these taxes during the course of their employment. In case, the employment duration is less than 40 quarters, the enrollees will have to buy into part A Medicare through an annual adjusted monthly period.
Part B of the insurance is covered by enrollees paying an insurance premium depending on their income level.
When we consider the healthcare system prevailing in the USA, Medicare makes the most important part of the whole system. But what is Medicare? Who benefits from it? And who pays for it? Also, citizens want to know what is covered in this government-funded health insurance program.
These questions are answered briefly in the article. Plus, you learned also learned the philosophy behind such a government-based system.