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Health Care Statistics-Assessing Health Care in the U.S.-Part III of a IVPart Series

(11/23/09)-The total number of Medicare beneficiaries in 2008 was 45, 301,837. Of this number, 37,584,186 were aged and 7,717,651 were disabled. (In 1973, individuals who were severely disabled or suffered kidney failure became eligible for Medicare.

Broken down by age, the number of beneficiaries are: age 0 to 64=15.7%; age 65-69=23.2%; age 70-74=19,9%; age 75-79=17.3%; age 80-84=12.9%; Over 85=11.09

California is the state with the most Medicare beneficiaries with 4,470,439, followed by Florida with 3,180,256, with New York third with 2,877,270, Texas is fourth with 2,778,533 and 5th is Pennsylvania with 2,210,989.

The next 5 include the Midwest states of Ohio, 6th with 1,830,807, Illinois with 1,769,546, Michigan with 1,571,709 and then New Jersey with 1,279,020 and 10th, Georgia with 1,145,727. Virginia at 1,071,681 and Massachusetts with 1,015,086 round out the top 12.

Females represent 56.2% of the Medicare beneficiaries, males 43.8%. Alaska is the only state with more male beneficiaries (51.2%) than female beneficiaries.

As of Feb 2009, there were 45,239,496 eligible Medicare Part D beneficiaries, with 17,482,185 in stand alone Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs), 9,169,814 in Medicare Advantage drug plans (MA-DPs), 5,972,743 in employer plans taking retiree drug subsidies, and with 6,068,246 having other drug coverage.

The total number of beneficiaries with known credible coverage was 38,692,938.

The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) added prescription drug coverage to Medicare (Medicare Part D), beginning on January 1, 2006. People on Medicare can obtain the Medicare drug benefit through two types of private plans: a stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP) for beneficiaries in the traditional fee-for-service program or a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, such as an HMO or PPO.

Beginning in 2007, the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act (PL-108-173) requires that single Medicare beneficiaries with annual incomes over $80,000 and married couples with incomes over $160,000 pay increased Part B premiums that fund a higher percentage of the cost of Medicare Part B coverage, reducing Medicare's share. These higher-income beneficiaries will pay a monthly premium equal to 35, 50, 65, or 80 percent of the total cost of Part B coverage, depending on their income level, by the end of a 3-year transition period

(7/19/08)- The 2nd Annual scorecard from the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit research group in New York showed that this country spends more than twice as much on each person for health care as does most other industrialized countries. What do we get for our money? We are in last place among those countries in preventing deaths through use of timely and effective medical care.

Access to health care in the U.S. has worsened since the fund's first report card in 2006 as more people (75 million) are believed to lack adequate health insurance or are uninsured altogether.

The study assesses the U.S. on 37 health care measures, and found that the cost of health care continues to rise steadily without a commensurate improvement in results.

We did improve the number of preventable deaths for people under 75 to 110 deaths for every 100,000 people, compared with 115 deaths five years ago, but other countries have made greater improvements. The U.S. now ranks last in preventable mortality, just below Ireland and Portugal, with France doing the best, followed by Japan and Australia.

The report also emphasizes the inefficiencies of the American Health System. The administrative costs of the medical insurance system consume much more of the current health care dollar, about 7.5% than in other countries.

Bringing those costs down to the level of 5% or so as in Germany and Switzerland, where private insurance play a significant role would save an estimated $50 billion a year, according to Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund.

Please see: Health Care Statistics: Part I-National Hospital Discharges
Health Care Statistics: Part II- Ambulatory Medical Care
Hospital Death Statistics: Part IV- Deaths

FOR AN INFORMATIVE AND PERSONAL ARTICLE ON PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS WHEN SELECTING A NURSING HOME SEE OUR ARTICLE "How to Select a Nursing Home"

Allan Rubin
updated November 23, 2009

http://www.therubins.com

e-mail: hrubin12@nyc.rr.com or allanrubin4@gmail.com

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