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Growing Up With Medicare

Sue Lancelotta from Woodstock, Maryland describes her experience being covered by Medicare.

Headshot of Sue Lancelotta
I still remember watching the news on TV 50 years ago, and seeing the signing of the new Medicare law. I was just 21.

President Lyndon Johnson was in Missouri with former President Harry Truman, who received the very first Medicare card. At the time, it didn’t even occur to me that it was anything that I would need or be using. What do I care when I’m 21?

I started working when I was just 14. I’ve worked the last 30 years in real estate, but I’ve never been able to get an employer health insurance plan.

When I became an adult, I was afraid to not have health insurance, so I bought my own. Since this was well before the Affordable Care Act, my plans didn’t come with the protections or tax credits you could find now. It cost about $1,400 a month, and that didn’t include a prescription drug benefit.

Once I hit 65 and could go on Medicare, it was a huge relief. It’s terrific. At the end of the day, having the peace of mind that Medicare gives me is good for my health.

I also signed up for Part D, the prescription drug benefit, because I have some issues that require very expensive medications. I used to have to pay for these out of pocket, with my antibiotics costing around $300 to $400 a course. With Medicare, I now pay only $26 a month for Part D and an affordable copay for each medication.

In the last three years, I’ve had four surgeries and have not had to spend anything other than my Medicare premium and an affordable deduction, a small fraction of what I had to pay for private insurance. Just a couple of months ago, I needed surgery for a ruptured tendon in my foot. Medicare covered the surgery and a “knee scooter,” so I could get around the house, the neighborhood and even the mall.

Knowing that my bills were taken care of meant I was able to concentrate on healing and getting back to my regular life. It was nice to know that Medicare was there to back me up. It’s there when I need it, and I am looking forward to a long, healthy life.

If you need information about Medicare costs and benefits, or how to enroll, go to

Happy 50th Anniversary, Medicare!

Sue is one of many Americans covered by Medicare. This is her story: via @HHSgov #KeepingUSHealthy


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