Signed into law by then-President Lyndon Johnson on July 30th, 1965, Medicare coverage began as a social insurance program for American citizens age 65 or older. Today Medicare also covers citizens who may not be 65 years old, but demonstrate need. Those suffering with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in need of a kidney transplant or have been receiving Social Security benefits for at least 24 months are all examples of people who qualify for Medicare.
Originally, Medicare coverage applied only to Hospital Insurance (known as Part A) and Medical Insurance (Part B). Former President Harry S. Truman was the first recipient of an official Medicare card, which then rarely entitled the holder to prescription drug coverage. Presently, comprehensive drug coverage is provided by many private insurance plans.