Most Americans reaching age 65 achieve a significant milestone: Medicare eligibility. Launched in 1965, Medicare is a national health insurance program created and administered by the U.S. government and funded primarily via payroll taxes. Prior to its inception, over half of Americans, 65 or older, had no health insurance.
The program started with coverage for hospital stays (Part A) and other medical expenses like doctor fees (Part B). These two parts, known as "Original Medicare," operate as a "fee-for-service" system where a provider (e.g., hospital or doctor) gets paid for each service delivered.