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Policy Topic Search and Selection Essay

Medicare is a federal insurance program that was created to aid the elderly with their medical bills. The Medicare program was created 40 years ago. The original benefits under Medicare did not include drug coverage. Medicare has since added drug coverage to bridge the gap under the original available benefits. The Medicare program is facing serious financial challenges. The projected expense for medical services among the elderly is said to exceed the available tax revenue needed to finance the program. The elderly has reported that they are satisfied with the services available under the Medicare program. Medicare beneficiaries report that they have excellent access to care. They have excellent access to prescription drug, schedule appointment with their physicians, have medical tests, and follow-up treatments. It is reported that the elderly have greater access to medical services than patients covered by private insurance carriers.

Preventative services are one of the primary benefits available to the elderly. Even though Medicare provides excellent benefits, the elderly still spends a large amount of their personal income on out-of-pocket charges for medical services. Medicare works hard to control the cost of health care through structured payment system and regulatory controls. To that end, Medicare is now a leader in developing payment systems that have been adopted by other health care payers. Medicare has experienced tremendous success in its payment for hospital and medical services. Medicare is a government entity and is not able to negotiate or set the price for pharmaceutical.

Due the rising cost of health new strategies are to the help the elderly save for medical expenses prior to retirement. To that end it is suggested that the elderly contribute to a personal Medicare Health Account. Monies contributed to this account would be used to cover premiums, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and long-term care. Coordination of care is a concern for the elderly and something that Medicare needs to improve. Coordination of care is important to the elderly because they multiple chronic illnesses that must be treated by several health care providers. To address this issue Medicare will need to be restructured to cover transitional care services.

References
Davis K, & Collins S. (2005-2006). Medicare at 40. Health Care Financing Review 27(2):53-62. Moon M. (2006). Medicare: A Policy Primer. Baltimore, MD: Urban Institute Press.


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