“Someone’s knockin’ at the door, somebody’s ringin’ the bell, do me a favor, open the door and let them in.” Chances are, if you recognize the lyrics to “Let Them In,” written by McCartney, you may have already gotten a knock on the door by a Medicare agent. Few people can recall how Medicare was first sold. Medicare was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 30, 1965, and benefits became effective July 1, 1966. Eligible seniors did not get auto-enrolled; a force of 5,000 workers paid $1.25 per hour for 20 weeks went door to-door to ask them to enroll. In 1966, the Washington Post asked a reporter to shadow a Medicare worker. The reporter observed people who were home but would not answer the door — others slammed the door on the salesperson and a few reluctantly let them in. When asked about their hesitancy to sign up, many replied that they didn’t need it, assumed it was for the poor or that they couldn’t afford the $3 monthly premium. According to Social Security records, approximately 19 million were eligible and 93 percent enrolled in the summer of 1966, making the launch successful. Door-to-door solicitation is no longer allowed, but Medicare beneficiaries can schedule a no-cost, no-obligation home visit by an agent to learn about their Medicare options. So if you schedule an appointment with a Medicare agent, do yourself a favor — open the door and let them in!

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