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Cheap Health Insurance in California for Seniors

An Age Old Problem

For decades our senior citizens have endured hardship, and in the age of technology and modern commerce it seems that they too are at the mercy of modern economic conditions.

In 1960, President John F. Kennedy cited that no cost had increased more rapidly than the cost of medical care, and he recognized that the impact of this inflation was hardest on the older citizens of America, and it is his legacy that has been maintained to provide Californian health insurance for seniors and care to the older generation. 

Notably, President Kennedy's words were paid heed to, and in 1965 US Congress adopted the Medicare program of public health care which was designed to service individuals over 65 in particular, commensurate with the advances made in medical technology in allowing individuals to live far longer and healthier lives.

Later in 1973 Medicare was extended to cover people under 65 with serious medical conditions, and in 1988 Congress moved to expand the program further to include prescription drugs and catastrophic illnesses. The extension was to be funded by a surtax on the income of elderly individuals over 65, and received so much criticism that the legislation was repealed a year later. 


Again in 2003 Medicare was reformed and expansion led to prescription drug coverage. The bill to amend the Medicare system included increased payments to health service providers, subsidies to employers to continue health insurance for retirees, and adopted a new means testing criteria to assist in funding the program.

Essentially, the expansion of the program had to give way to some provisions of health care and some gaps in the coverage appeared in order to provide a basic standard of health care to all recipients. Here, recipients initially received a discount card for $30 and then were able to receive up to 75% discounts on prescriptions medicine which was subsidized by the government.

Further subsidies were paid to recipients if they chose to purchase a private health insurance plan to complement the Medicare program, for such health services as extended outpatient care, alternative treatment etcetera. Under the means testing criteria, if an individual has no ability to participate in the program effectively, the requirements are waived and there is no gap in coverage.

Responsibility to the States

Once instituted the federal government gave responsibility to the states to implement their own Medicare health systems based upon the broad lines set by Congress.1 While they vary from state to state, most provide a sound basic standard of care for the elderly, and the same is true of budget health insurance in California.

The means testing criteria may see some wealthy individuals pay a nominal premium each month, but for the majority of elderly on modest incomes the health cover is free, and provides California Seniors with health insurance.

Still due to the gaps in coverage of the Medicare program, the rising costs of private health insurance plans have continued to disadvantage those of our community who are in their twilight years and in need of affordable health insurance plans in California. Lack of low cost health insurance in California within the elderly sector of the community has been found to be directly related to low income, as opposed to other sectors where price elasticity is the major determinant.

The elderly are most dependent on prescription medication and given the gap in Medicare cover much needed medication may be seen to be forgone by those who need low cost Californian health insurance most. 



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