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Medicare in 2020: What Do the Numbers Say?

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One of the most sought-after things in America is top-quality healthcare, as a fair portion of the population does not have it covered. Medicare, a program introduced back in 1965, is the most prominent and trusted healthcare program in the US, along with Medicaid.

Turning 55 this year, the program covers as much as 21% of the American population, primarily helping the disabled and the elderly. But just how obtainable Medicare is for US citizens, especially in the era when most Americans are not insured due to dizzying prices of healthcare? 

Let’s brush over some of the most important facts on this insurance program.

The Number of Medicare Users has Doubled

Medicare now covers twice the percentage of people it used to just a decade ago. According to KFF, back in 2009, just about 10.5% of Americans were included in the Medicare Advantage plans. As of last year, the number is 22%.

This bright fact is especially significant to those whose annual household earnings are not too high, as it appears that more and more people are now able to afford the program enrollment.

Reduced Growth in Spending

Still, there is a labor shortage concern, as well as much slower growth in spending. Nurses are still the most problematic healthcare employee groups included in the program because of their lower salaries, especially in comparison to standard fee-for-service jobs. As reported by the Skilled Nursing News, those involved with the MA program are paid as much as 13% less than those working privately. 

Also, a report from KFF indicates that the overall spending growth is much smaller than it used to be. In fact, it was cut in half. Medicare spending from 2000 to 2010 would grow by a stagnant 9%, whilst between 2010 and 2017, the annual growth averaged at roughly 4.5%. This reduced growth in spending mostly reflected on the above-mentioned salaries.

Healthcare Jobs Are on the Rise

However, healthcare jobs are on a continuous rise. Even with Medicare-related employees having somewhat shorter incomes, several recent statistics show that not only is the healthcare industry on the rise, but it has also become the biggest employer in the United States, steadily surpassing both retail and manufacturing industries.

Medicare Advantage Penetration Rates

Medicare Advantage penetration across the United States is utterly heterogeneous. Namely, most states have a vastly different rate of Medicare coverage. Two states, Alaska and Wyoming, have 1% and 3% coverage, respectively, and they are a precedent in the entire MA program in terms of low penetration.

On the other hand, 12 states and District of Columbia range anywhere between 11-20% of citizens’ coverage. About eight states so far are ranked in the middle, at 21-30% of coverage. Most states, 22 to be precise, have a top tier rank, 31-40%. Finally, six states and Puerto Rico have over 41% of Medicare coverage.

Final Thoughts

All in all, we can see that Medicare is slowly becoming less of a luxury and more of a staple in day to day life of the American people. Within the next decade, it is justified to expect this program to be provided to all taxpayers in the United States. There is a lot to be excited about, and the time will tell if we were right.