The proposal to raise the age for eligibility for Medicare benefits from 65 to 67 could save the government over $100 billion. It would also increase health-care costs to senior citizens.
Those 65 and over would likely have to pay an additional $2000 per year for health insurance without Medicare.
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President Obama has indicated he would consider the move but the proposal fails to consider other cost increases such as the cost of providing end-of-life services that would occur.
The new Affordable Care Act provides seniors more options for insurance. This makes the possibility of increasing the eligibility age for Medicare benefits a viable option.
The age for eligibility has not been raised since 1966 when the program was instituted. Congress agreed in 1986 to raise the age for Social Security to 67, a move that doesn’t completely go into effect until 2022.
Medicare spending would be reduced by $148 billion over ten years if the eligibility age were to increase every two months until 2027 when it would reach 67.
Savings would occur gradually as the government pays benefits to fewer people. Medicare payroll taxes would increase because more people would continue working to retain their health insurance.
Government spending would increase in other areas as the number of uninsured people would rise. Some would turn to Medicaid instead and others would receive government subsidies
so they could buy insurance.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said those expenditures would reduce the benefits of raising the eligibility age to $113 billion.
The Medicare surtax that will come into play January 1 would add revenues to offset those expenditures.