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Government and private insurance medical programs as well as MDVIP, an update.

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  • 1Research Program, Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottsville, Virginia, USA.


On November 19,1945, President Truman outlined a Prepaid Medical Insurance Plan for all people through the Social Security System. Because of its comprehensive nature, it was coined "National Health Insurance." On July 30,1965, President Johnson signed the Medicare and Medicaid bill (Title XVII and Title XIX of the Social Security Act). Today, many groups of people are covered by Medicaid. However, there are strict requirements that may vary from state to state. Medicare offers the following types of medical heath care plans to include the original Medicare plan that is a "fee for service" plan. The individual may stay in the original plan unless he/she chooses to join a Medicare+ Choice Plan or a Medigap Plan. Most individuals will receive Medicare Part A when they are 65 without paying a premium because it has been deducted annually through their tax payments before the age of 65. Medicare Part A helps pay for the following: inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care. Medicare Part B, however, must be paid by the individual through premiums to the Federal government. Medicare Part B medical insurance pays for doctors' services, outpatient services, and some other services that Medicare Part A doesn't cover. In an effort to supplement one's health care coverage, the individual may select either a Medicare+ Choice Plan or a Medigap Policy. The Medicare+ Choice Plan has four different types: Medicare Managed Care Plans, Medicare Private Fee for Service Plan, Medicare Preferred Provider Plans, and Medicare Specialty Plans. If one selects a Medigap policy, one may choose either a Medigap SELECT Policy or the standard Medigap policy. The front of a Medigap Policy must clearly identify it as a "Medicare Supplement Insurance." One must be carefully advised of the selection of the Medigap Policy. The Medicare Part B has a wide range of preventative services, including tests for breast cancer, cervical cancer, vaginal cancer, and colorectal cancer; bone mass measurements; diabetes monitoring and diabetes self-management; flu, pneumonia, Hepatitis B shots, and prostate cancer screening tests. It is important to emphasize that Medicare and Medicare supplemental insurance policies do not pay for home health care, such as durable medical equipment. Because of the enormous complexity of the wide variety of health insurance plans and their billing strategies, many physicians are electing to charge their patients an additional fee for being part of their practice. In return for their annual fee, their patients receive immediate cell phone access to their doctor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition, they receive same-day appointments and on-time appointments. They also spend as much time with their doctors as they wish. It is not surprising that there is growing evidence that the privately insured patient with a life-threatening illness will live longer than those individuals who have the same disease but have public insurance only. Legislatures are well aware of this crisis in medical care that must be corrected immediately.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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