Today, in honor of National Medicare Education Week, we’ll be taking a quick look back at the history of Medicare, specifically the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit .
The original Medicare program was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965 and included Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance). In 1997, Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, was added as a managed care option for beneficiaries. The program was later expanded to include Part D, which offered prescription drug coverage for the first time. For more than a decade, Part D has offered affordable and comprehensive prescription drug coverage to seniors and people living with disabilities.
Let’s take a closer look at some key moments in the Part D program timeline:
- 2003: President George W. Bush signs into law the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, adding an optional prescription drug benefit known as Part D.
- 2006: Medicare Part D plans became available; Part D can be purchased as a stand-alone plan or integrated with Medicare Advantage plans.
- 2007: The number of Part D plan options reaches a peak, with an average of 56 plan options for beneficiaries.
- 2016: Study finds that Part D plans receive an average 35.3 percent discount from manufacturer list prices, underscoring the substantial rebates negotiated in the program.
- 2019: More than 45 million Americans are enrolled in Part D.
- 2020: Part D offers more than 948 prescription drug plans across 34 regions, representing a 5% increase from 2019.
- 2020: 92% of beneficiaries report they are satisfied with their coverage.
Check back here over the coming weeks for more information about the impact of Part D and considerations for how Congress can continue to improve the program for beneficiaries. In the meantime, learn more at PhRMA.org/PartD.