In the United States, Medicare is a single-payer, national social insurance program, administered by the US federal government since 1966, currently using about 30–50 private insurance companies across the United States under contract for administration.

Social insurance is any government-sponsored program with the following four characteristics:

Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss.

Medicare Part D and Prescription Drugs by Medicare Made Clear


United States Medicare is funded by a Payroll Tax, premiums and surtaxes from beneficiaries, and general revenue.

Understanding Medicare Advantage Plans by Medicare Made Clear


It provides health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older who have worked and paid into the system through the payroll tax.

Payroll taxes are taxes imposed on employers or employees, and are usually calculated as a percentage of the salaries that employers pay their staff.

Health insurance is insurance against the risk of incurring medical expenses among individuals.


It also provides health insurance to younger people with some disabilities status as determined by the Social Security Administration, as well as younger people with end stage renal disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

The United States Social Security Administration is an independent agency of the United States federal government that administers Social Security, a social insurance program consisting of retirement, disability, and survivors' benefits.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease and motor neurone disease, is a specific disease that causes the death of neurons which control voluntary muscles.


In 2015, Medicare provided health insurance for over 55 million—46 million people age 65 and older and nine million younger people.


On average, Medicare covers about half of the health care charges for those enrolled.


The enrollees must then cover their remaining costs either with supplemental insurance, separate insurance, or out-of-pocket.


Out-of-pocket costs can vary depending on the amount of health care a Medicare enrollee needs.


They might include the costs of uncovered services—such as for long-term, dental, hearing, and vision care—and supplemental insurance premiums.


The Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee, composed of physicians associated with the American Medical Association, advises the government about pay standards for Medicare patient procedures performed by doctors and other professional under Medicare Part B, according to news reports.

The Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee or Relative Value Update Committee is a private group of 31 mostly specialist physicians who have made highly influential recommendations on how to value a physician's work when computing health care prices in the United States' public health insurance program Medicare.

A physician or medical doctor or just doctor is a professional who practices medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining, or restoring health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury, and other physical and mental impairments.

The American Medical Association, founded in 1847 and incorporated in 1897, is the largest association of physicians—both MDs and DOs—and medical students in the United States.


A similar but different CMS system determines the rates paid acute care and other hospitals—including skilled nursing facilities—under Medicare Part A.

A hospital is a health care institution providing patient treatment with specialized medical and nursing staff and medical equipment.

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