by Martha Khlopin, Hawaii Helps: Health Enrollment Literacy Program & Services
In 1965 former President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicare insurance bill into law. Medicare insurance included Part A which covers hospitalization, skilled nursing, home health care and hospice. Part B covers physician visits, outpatient services, physical therapy, durable medical equipment, ambulances, labs, x-rays, etc. It is known as Original Medicare or Traditional Medicare. Medicare Part D was introduced on January 1, 2006 and provides some coverage for medications part of the plan’s drug formulary. Original Medicare does not include coverage for hearing aids, dental care, eyeglasses and long term care insurance. Other Medicare options offered by private insurance companies may include benefits beyond original medicare like gym memberships, dental care, routine vision and eyeglasses.