Medicare’s open enrollment for next year begins on October 15th and runs through December 7th (an unfortunate date in the lives of many of the GI Generation). Information on Medicare’s medical plans can be found here. General information for those new to the process can be . Medicare was founded in 1965 in an effort to buttress the insurance that most Americans lost at 65 or at retirement. It was meant as another strand of a safety net first weaved with the passage of the Social Security Act in 1935, also meant to help the elderly avoid falling destitute.
Although Governor/Presidential Candidate Rick Perry (Rep., TX) stands by his assertion that such support as, it has helped – unlike Ponzi schemes – millions of older and retired Americans avoid poverty. A new Census study clearly demonstrates just how successful the programs have been.
The full report deals with changes in poverty levels among various demographic groups in the US. One of its many less surprising findings is that the incomes of all Americans fell from 2009 to 2010, as the Great Recession continued to choke those millions citizens not working for the half-dozen largest banks and investment firms. For example:
- Real median household income was $49,445 in 2010, a 2.3 percent decline from 2009.
- Since 2007, the year before the most recent recession, real median household income has declined 6.4 percent and is 7.1 percent below the median household income peak that occurred in 1999.
And yet, through the years of relative decline and collapse we endured under George W. Bush’s administration, the Bureau’s report shows how well Medicare and Social Security helped slow the slide among our retired citizens.
On the insurance/Medicare side, the Census Report demonstrates the following:
- The percentage of people covered by private health insurance decreased in 2010 to 64.0 percent, while the number of people covered by private health insurance was not statistically different from 2009, at 195.9 million (Tables 10 and C-1). The percentage of people covered by private health insurance has been decreasing since 2001.
- The percentage and number of people covered by government health insurance increased to 31.0 percent and 95.0 million in 2010 from 30.6 percent and 93.2 million in 2009.