On its 50th Anniversary, More Than 55 Million Americans Covered by Medicare

New Medicare state-by-state enrollment numbers

As Medicare and Medicaid celebrate their 50th anniversary protecting the health and well-being of millions of seniors, people with disabilities and low-income individuals, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today released updated Medicare state-by-state enrollment numbers, showing that more than 55 million Americans are covered by Medicare.

In 1966, approximately 19.1 million Americans were covered by Medicare. In 2012, there were nearly 52 million beneficiaries covered by Medicare. Today’s enrollment numbers represent a three million person increase during the last three years as the Baby Boom generation has started to retire. Medicare beneficiaries depend on the program to provide critical health services such as preventive services, including flu shots and diabetes screenings, hospital stays, lab tests and critical supplies like wheelchairs and prescription drugs.

“Over the last 50 years, Medicare has become part of the fabric of our communities, protecting the well-being and financial security of millions of American families as they age or if they become disabled. In doing so, Medicare has kept up with dramatic demographic changes and led the charge toward improving health care delivery,” said Andy Slavitt, CMS acting administrator. “As we preserve and advance Medicare for future generations, we are focused on helping build a better system with smarter spending that keeps people healthier.”

CMS also releases state-by-state Medicaid enrollments on a monthly basis. As of May 2015, over 71.6 million individuals were enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) with 12.8 million more gaining coverage since 2013. More information is available on Medicaid.gov.

The chart below outlines enrollment as of May 2015 in Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage and Part D (prescription drug plans):

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