Currently, Medicare is for seniors 65 + or those on Social Security Disability for over 2 years. Although, that could be changing.
Lowering the age of Medicare eligibility is a possibility for all Americans. The proposed lowered age for Medicare would be at 55 years young.
Medicare at 55
The senior citizens of America have been blessed with incredible healthcare coverage options, one of the biggest perks of aging. However, those aged 55 to 64 have unreasonable health care costs.
This particular group accounts for more than half of the total spending on health. Therefore, people in this age group need high quality options that will reduce the cost of health insurance.
When you add this age group to the Medicare program there will be an increase in competition. Agents and carriers can expect a large influx of clients.
While “Medicare for All” has been mentioned, it’s more likely that “Medicare at 55” will gain traction.
Lowering the Medicare Age
This proposal would allow those 55 and up to enroll in the Medicare program. This group would then receive a red, white and blue Medicare card.
Medicare doesn’t cover everything; for example:
- 20% coinsurance
- Dental, vision or hearing
Since Medicare doesn’t cover these things, having additional coverage is beneficial for those on Medicare.
Depending on the state you reside in, you could select additional coverage, such as a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan.
However, if this proposal passes, it’s going to cost money. A rise in the Medicare Payroll contribution tax would need to happen in order to supplement the expense of covering additional people.
Although, if this is voluntary, will anyone aged 55 to 64 really want to leave their current employer coverage?
Alternatively, if the change is mandatory, the government would be responsible for the care and employers would no longer cover the costs for that age group.
With employers no longer responsible for that costs, premiums for younger families could essentially go down.
How Will “Medicare at 55” Work?
Those becoming new to Medicare will buy into coverage, this way the government isn’t paying the entire way. Similar to how there is a Part B premium for those currently enrolled in the Medicare Program.
Supporters of “Medicare at 55” say having younger healthier citizens buying into Medicare would help cover the costs associated with much older seniors.
What would Medicare for all cost Americans?
Well, I was thinking the same thing. According to Bloomberg, Medicare for All could cost $32.6 Trillion over the course of 10 years.
While universal Original Medicare would help lower health care costs for many, there are costs that will shift to the care providers.
This includes copious amounts of paperwork just to get a payment. Then there are costs associated with American Taxpayers.
Medicare fraud is huge, with electronic medical records that make it easy for a doctor to “up code” and charge the government; the hasn’t increased quality and seems to be costly.
Congress is Already looking to Cut Medicare Spending
Cutting Medicare spending is already important to congress, hence the Medicare and Chip Reauthorization Act.
They’re retiring Medicare Supplement Plan F, C, and High Deductible Plan F in 2020.
The biggest reason they’re doing that, so seniors put a little more into the costs of their healthcare expenses.
Spending could be reduced by increasing Medicare eligibility ages.
- Those currently 65 would become eligible at 68
- Also, those 55 would become eligible at age 70
Spending cuts like this are already called current laws. Can you imagine if seniors must compete against younger people for healthcare?
While Medicare at 55 is possible, there are many things that will need to be worked out.
Medicare at 55 vs Medicare for All
Allowing those already approaching Medicare, the option to buy Medicare would allow for additional reliable and affordable coverage through Medicare and the Medicare programs.
With Medicare at 55 including private insurance companies, the buy in proposal could possibly win support from the insurance industry. This would create an increase for their Medicare Advantage enrollments.
Legislation is including companies like Humana, Aetna, Cigna and UnitedHealthcare. Medicare Advantage plans have a larger risk pool than the Affordable Care Act market.
Medicare for all, would certainly give us coverage; however, this would happen at a price.
However, Medicare at 55 could benefit everyone; lower premiums for younger families and affordable coverage to those eligible.
Finding middle ground legislation everyone can agree on is essential for a successful nation.
2019 is going to be an exciting year for Medicare beneficiaries, Medicare agents and everyone in American. Many changes have been made and other changes are coming in 2020.
Staying up to date on Medicare policies is important, this allows you the knowledge you need to confidently manage your healthcare spending.