Figuring out if you've saved enough to pay for health care is one of the retirement planning challenges, and the uncertainty about how health care reform will affect Medicare and other insurance plans doesn't make things any easier.
Lots of people object to health care reform, but Medicare, which incorporates many of the same principals, is widely popular.
A survey released today by Employee Benefit Research Institute, a consortium of insurance companies and other financial services businesses, asked people if they thought full access to Medicare should be delayed until recipients reached 68 -- as opposed to 65 as it is now -- while a partial Medicare plan could be made available at 62. No more details than that were offered the respondents and their opinions were mostly negative.
- 8 percent strongly favored such a proposal.
- 19 percent favored it somewhat.
- 28 percent somewhat oppose the idea.
- 42 percent strongly oppose it.
The survey also found that Americans don't know much about health care reform. Nearly 40 percent said they don't even know when it goes into effect. But ignorance about the details doesn't stop most people from having an opinion. Among those who plan to vote in November, 71 percent say that health reform will affect how they vote, while 26 percent say it won't.
Who knows what will happen after the election. Congress already has given the Department of Health and Human Services $10 billion to open the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, CMI, in early 2011. Its purpose is to focus on improving payment and delivery methods and reducing program costs.
When I see big numbers like that, I get nervous and stick a few extra dollars in my health care piggy bank. It doesn't matter much who gets elected in November. Those of us facing retirement can still count on needing as much money as we can squirrel away.