Since 1997, Medicare enrollees have had the option of going beyond their Original Medicare coverage by enrolling in Medicare Advantage. As of 2017, there were a record 19 million people enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, accounting for about 33 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries. Enrollment in Medicare Advantage has been steadily growing since 2004. Managed care programs administered by private health insurers have been available to Medicare beneficiaries since the 1970s, but these programs have grown significantly since the Balanced Budget Act – signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1997 – created the Medicare+Choice program.The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 changed the name to Medicare Advantage, but the concept is still the same: beneficiaries receive their Medicare benefits through a private health insurance plan, and the health insurance carrier receives payments from the Medicare program to cover beneficiaries’ medical costs.
Most Medicare Part B enrollees pay an insurance premium for this coverage; the standard Part B premium for 2013 through 2015 was $104.90 – $335.70 per month. The premium increased to over $120 a month in 2016 but only for those not on Social Security in 2015. A new income-based premium surtax schema has been in effect since 2007, wherein Part B premiums are higher for beneficiaries with incomes exceeding $85,000 for individuals or $170,000 for married couples. Depending on the extent to which beneficiary earnings exceed the base income, these higher Part B premiums are $139.90, $199.80, $259.70, or $319.70 for 2012, with the highest premium paid by individuals earning more than $214,000, or married couples earning more than $428,000.[49]
MA plans feature a network of doctors and hospitals that enrollees must use to get the maximum payment, whereas supplements tend to provide access to a broader set of health care providers, said Shawnee Christenson, an insurance agent with Crosstown Insurance in New Hope. While that might sound good to beneficiaries, supplements can come with significantly higher premiums, Christenson said.
More limited income-relation of premiums only raises limited revenue. Currently, only 5 percent of Medicare enrollees pay an income-related premium, and most only pay 35 percent of their total premium, compared to the 25 percent most people pay. Only a negligible number of enrollees fall into the higher income brackets required to bear a more substantial share of their costs—roughly half a percent of individuals and less than three percent of married couples currently pay more than 35 percent of their total Part B costs.[152]
Of the 35,476 total active applicants who participated in The National Resident Matching Program in 2016, 75.6% (26,836) were able to find PGY-1 (R-1) matches. Out of the total active applicants, 51.27% (18,187) were graduates of conventional US medical schools; 93.8% (17,057) were able to find a match. In comparison, match rates were 80.3% of osteopathic graduates, 53.9% of US citizen international medical school graduates, and 50.5% of non-US citizen international medical schools graduates.[106]
Part A covers inpatient hospital stays where the beneficiary has been formally admitted to the hospital, including semi-private room, food, and tests. As of January 1, 2018, Medicare Part A has an inpatient hospital deductible of $1340, coinsurance per day as $335 after 61 days confinement within one "spell of illness", coinsurance for "lifetime reserve days" (essentially, days 91-150) of $670 per day, and coinsurance in an Skilled Nursing Facility (following a medically necessary hospital confinement of 3 night in row or more) for days 21-100 of $167.50 per day (up to 20 days of SNF confinement have no co-pay) These amounts increase or decrease yearly on 1st day of the year.[citation needed]
Humana’s pharmacy network offers limited access to pharmacies with preferred cost sharing in urban areas of AL, CA, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY; suburban areas of AZ, CA, CT, DC, DE, HI, IA, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, ND, NH, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, PR, RI, SD, VT, WA, WV, WY; and rural areas of AK, IA, MN, MT, ND, NE, SD, VT, WY. There are an extremely limited number of preferred cost share pharmacies in urban areas in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, NC, ND, NY, OH, RI, SC, VT, WA; suburban areas of: MT and ND; and rural areas of: ND. The lower costs advertised in our plan materials for these pharmacies may not be available at the pharmacy you use. For up-to-date information about our network pharmacies, including pharmacies with preferred cost sharing, please call Customer Care at 1-800-281-6918 (TTY: 711) or consult the online pharmacy directory at Humana.com.
The Annual Election Period (AEP) runs from October 15 to December 7 each year. You can switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan at this time, and make other coverage changes. If you’re already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and want to switch plans, in most cases a good time to do so is during the Annual Election Period.  When you change Medicare plans during the Annual Election Period, your new coverage generally begins on January 1 of the following year.
Because of how Part D works, you could pay as much as 72% of the cost of some of your prescription drugs if you need enough medication to push you into the notorious doughnut hole: when Part D's full prescription-drug coverage runs out after you've spent $2,850, until your medication costs exceed $4,550 per year. In 2015, coverage will end at $2,960 and begin again at $4,700. During the coverage gap, you'll be responsible for 47.5% of covered, brand-named prescription drugs. In 2015, that will change to 45%.

Over the long-term, Medicare faces significant financial challenges because of rising overall health care costs, increasing enrollment as the population ages, and a decreasing ratio of workers to enrollees. Total Medicare spending is projected to increase from $523 billion in 2010 to around $900 billion by 2020. From 2010 to 2030, Medicare enrollment is projected to increase from 47 million to 79 million, and the ratio of workers to enrollees is expected to decrease from 3.7 to 2.4.[79] However, the ratio of workers to retirees has declined steadily for decades, and social insurance systems have remained sustainable due to rising worker productivity. There is some evidence that productivity gains will continue to offset demographic trends in the near future.[80]

Additionally, the PPACA created the Independent Payment Advisory Board ("IPAB"), which is empowered to submit legislative proposals to reduce the cost of Medicare if the program's per-capita spending grows faster than per-capita GDP plus one percent.[87] While the IPAB would be barred from rationing care, raising revenue, changing benefits or eligibility, increasing cost sharing, or cutting payments to hospitals, its creation has been one of the more controversial aspects of health reform.[113] In 2016, the Medicare Trustees projected that the IPAB will have to convene in 2017 and make cuts effective in 2019.
Enrollment in the public Part C health plan program, including plans called Medicare Advantage since 2005, grew from zero in 1997 (not counting the pre-Part C demonstration projects) to over 21 million in 2018.[4] That 21,000,000-plus represents about 35% of the people on Medicare. But today over half the people fully signing up for Medicare for the first time, are choosing a public Part C plan of some type.
Medicare is not generally an unearned entitlement. Entitlement is most commonly based on a record of contributions to the Medicare fund. As such it is a form of social insurance making it feasible for people to pay for insurance for sickness in old age when they are young and able to work and be assured of getting back benefits when they are older and no longer working. Some people will pay in more than they receive back and others will receive more benefits than they paid in. Unlike private insurance where some amount must be paid to attain coverage, all eligible persons can receive coverage regardless of how much or if they had ever paid in.
Public Part C Medicare Advantage and other Part C health plans are required to offer coverage that meets or exceeds the standards set by Original Medicare but they do not have to cover every benefit in the same way. After approval by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, if a Part C plan chooses to pay less than Original Medicare for some benefits, such as Skilled Nursing Facility care, the savings may be passed along to consumers by offering even lower co-payments for doctor visits.
If you received an error when returning to your Online Benefit Application on or after September 29, you can reenter your saved application by creating or signing in to your my Social Security account. Additionally, beginning October 24, you can reenter your application from this page. If you are still unable to return to your application, please contact us. We apologize for any inconvenience.
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