Medicare for 60 years could expand health coverage to millions

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Whether it 's Medicare for All or lowering the age at which you are eligible for Medicare, there have been many proposals to make Medicare available to more people.

This article will discuss how President Biden's proposal for Medicare at age 60 would work, and how it could be good and bad.

Medicare of the population

Medicare has provided health insurance for people 65 and older since 1965. In the first year alone, it reached 19 million people. It was quite a feat when, before that, almost half of the elderly did not have health insurance.

After the baby boom (an increase in the birth rate between 1946 and 1964), the number of people receiving health care continued to grow. In 1972, Medicare also expanded coverage for people with end- stage renal disease and some disabilities .

Medicare Statistics

By 2020, Medicare reached 62.8 million people, about 19% of the US population. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services expect that number to rise to 81 million by 2030.

Lowering the age to be eligible for Medicare to 60 could increase coverage for more than 24.5 million people. These seniors will have the opportunity to enroll in Medicare early, stay in their employer-sponsored plan (if they have one), or enroll in Medicaid if they qualify .

Early retirement

When Medicare became law, the retirement age was 65. Someone can get all of their Social Security benefits at the same time and start enrolling in Medicare. This is not the case.

In 1983, the Social Security Service raised the retirement age to 67 years. Your retirement age will depend on the year you were born. It begins at age 65 for anyone born before 1938 and up to 67 for those born after 1960.

Because Medicare and Social Security are out of sync, early retirees may not have enough health insurance available. Although the Affordable Care Act does not allow a health plan to take pre- existing conditions into account, plans can charge up to three times more for older people than for younger people. In this case, Medicare at 60 will provide a reasonable option.

Social Security benefits

If you retire before the legal retirement age, you will not receive all of your Social Security benefits. The earliest age you can get Social Security is 62, but your benefits decrease depending on how early you retire. You must decide if early retirement is worth the loss of future income.

Employer-sponsored health plans

Many people can keep working until retirement age to maximize their Social Security benefits. 61% of people aged 60-64 have health insurance through their employer. Basically, your employer pays a percentage of your monthly contributions and they pay the rest.

This can be useful for a number of reasons. First, your employer-sponsored insurance can cover more services than traditional Medicare .

Second, your insurance plan may include a family member , such as a spouse or dependent, who is not eligible for other types of health insurance. Medicare is for one person only and does not apply to families.

However, employer insurance plans can sometimes be expensive. From 2019 to 2020, premiums increased 4%. Overall, premiums have grown 22% over the last decade.

Medicare, on the other hand, tends to increase premium rates more modestly over time. Most people get Part A premiums for free, while Part B premiums vary based on their income level.

In 2021, monthly premiums for the lowest income individuals increased by just $ 4. Also, if Social Security benefits don't increase in a particular year, Medicare premiums don't increase.

So Medicare at 60 has the potential to save money. It can also benefit employers. If everyone between the ages of 60 and 64 switched from their employer's health plan to Medicare, employers could spend 15% less on health insurance.

Medicaid, underinsured, uninsured

Having health insurance does not always mean that you can afford to use it. A costly out -of-pocket deduction may be required before your coverage takes effect. When insurance pays for services, you still have to pay copayments (a fixed dollar amount for the service) or coinsurance (a percentage of the cost of the service). Service).

Not everyone is lucky enough to pay for health insurance. A whopping 17% of adults ages 60-64 have Medicaid and 8% are uninsured. States that have not expanded Medicaid tend to have more people without insurance.

Unfortunately, many people delay getting help due to cost concerns. In 2019, 9.1% of people put off getting the help they needed and 8.3% decided not to get it at all. For the uninsured, rates increased to 32.2% and 30.4%, respectively.

Research in Cancer journal reviewed the national cancer diagnosis database from 2014 to 2016. The researchers focused on uninsured adults between the ages of 61 and 64 and compared them with insured adults with health insurance coverage between the ages of 65 and 69.

Interestingly, by the age of 65, there was a significant increase in the number of cancer diagnoses, especially colon and lung cancer. The implication is that people postponed treatment until they were eligible for Medicare.

Medicare at age 60 may be an option for Americans who are not eligible for Medicaid or who cannot access affordable health care.

Cost analysis

Medicare at 60 sounds promising, but there is also a market to consider. People with low to moderate incomes may qualify for a subsidy to reduce these costs. This can make these plans more affordable for them than Medicare.

Marketing and consulting company Avalere compared costs between three insurance options:

  1. Market plan
  2. Traditional Medicare with a Medicare supplement plan, also known as Medigap
  3. Medicare Advantage Plan

In terms of coverage, Option 2 was the most complete because Medicare is accepted throughout the country. Other options may be limited geographically or by the plan's network.

In general, people with incomes below 250% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) , approximately $ 32,000 per year, saved the most with the Silver Marketplace plan . For those who earn more than 400% of the FPL, about $ 52,000 a year, Medicare was a better deal.

Remember that Medicare also has subsidy programs. Medicare savings programs can pay not only for Medicare premiums, but also for deductions, copays, and coinsurance. Anyone who qualifies for one of the four savings programs is also eligible for Extra Help , a prescription drug subsidy program.

Medicare has its pros and cons in your 60s, which will depend on your income. If the offer comes true, you must make an important decision.

Market plans (Obamacare)

President Biden has yet to provide details about Medicare at level 60. Understanding how a plan will work with Marketplace ( Obamacare ) plans will affect the number of people who can benefit and their options.

Currently, the law does not allow you to enroll in a Marketplace plan if you are enrolled in Medicare, even if it is only Part A or Part B.

There are exceptions. If you pay your Part A premiums (which means you don't get them for free because you've paid less than 40 quarters of Medicare taxes ) and you drop your coverage, you can sign up. Otherwise, you can sign up if you were eligible for Medicare but never signed up.

If Medicare for 60 years follows the current rules, most 60-year-olds will not be eligible for Marketplace plans. Alternatively, if you offer Medicare as an option, but don't exclude Marketplace plans for adults ages 60-64, you may have more options.

Be careful

Not signing up for Medicare when eligible can ultimately take a toll on your wallet. You may face a late penalty if you decide to register. These penalties can last as long as you have Medicare.

Summary

Lowering the age to be eligible for Medicare to 60 will have several consequences. This will entitle more than 24.5 million people to participate. It can be an alternative to employer sponsored health plans or Marketplace health plans. The uninsured or underinsured may have better access to affordable health care.

Get the word of drug information

Health care in the United States can be expensive. In particular, older people may have difficulty obtaining insurance if they retire early, are self-employed, or have limited income.

Medicare has traditionally been an affordable health care option, and proposals are underway to lower the age of Medicare so that more people can get the health care they need. Follow Medicare at age 60. It can offer significant savings depending on how you progress.

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