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Will Medicare eligibility rise?

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Posted: 1 pm ET

The hot retirement planning topic of the moment is the Republican proposal to raise the age at which people can participate in Medicare to 67. It's 65 now, a year before Social Security's full retirement age for most people who are currently retiring.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, which studied the issue, says that raising the age of Medicare eligibility to mirror that of Social Security would be expensive for those who have to pick up the bill. If the proposal were to take effect in 2014, Kaiser figures that it would generate $5.7 billion in net federal savings but $11.4 billion in higher health care costs to individuals, employers and states. Kaiser says it would cost people ages 65 and 66 an average of $2,200 more a year in health insurance premiums and other costs now covered by Medicare. Ouch.

The Congressional Budget Office sees it differently. It says raising the eligibility age two years would save the federal government $148 billion between 2012 and 2021.

Is raising the Medicare age likely to happen? In a letter to President Barack Obama earlier this month outlining budget-cutting proposals, Speaker of the House John Boehner suggested raising the Medicare eligibility age gradually -- a milder version of the proposal from other Republicans.  

Obama, who was interviewed about the issue by Barbara Walters on ABC Tuesday night, didn't take a strong opposing position. He said:

"When you look at the evidence, it's not clear that it actually saves a lot of money. But what I've said is, 'Let's look at every avenue, because what is true is we need to strengthen Social Security, we need to strengthen Medicare for future generations. The current path is not sustainable because we've got an aging population, and health care costs are shooting up so quickly.'"

It could happen, but I wouldn't spend a lot of time worrying about it -- or stake my retirement nest egg on it. The amount of money to be saved doesn't seem worth the political fallout.

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February 01, 2013 at 6:09 pm

"If it sounds too good to be true it usually is". Remember that saying. We were flat out lied to by the polititians and by the main stream media. There is a problem with Medicare and it needs to be fixed so that all Americans who paid into it have the benefits they were promised. Money was taken from Medicare and shifted over to fund ObamaCare. These things were not reported by the so called journalists who are the watchdogs of the Government. We all better take care of ourselves and look out for each other.

Mary Bayles
December 18, 2012 at 11:26 pm

I am 63 so this would effect me quite a bit since our State may force me to make a choice between being allowed to buy insurance through the state or getting my 3% compounded raise every year. If they raise the age I would have the choice made for me. The insurance deductibles are quite high outside of the group policy , $2500 to $10,000 depending on the risk you want to take.
I would pay about the same premium for both, $6000.00 yearly.
Raising the age now would cause most people to postpone retirement and pay more into the system. Medicare is such a great bargain for us all even if they raise the age.

December 18, 2012 at 11:13 pm

As people live and work longer, what would make a lot more sense is a graduated system, where, for example, at age 55, 25% of costs are covered, 50% at 65, 75% at 75, and, at age 85, 100%. Health costs start to rise slowly starting around age 50; they don't suddenly skyrocket at 65, and it's been a long time since everyone dutifully retired at 65, losing healthcare benefits. It's not a magic, all-or-none age any more. Congress needs to wake up and smell the 21st century already.

mary clouse
December 18, 2012 at 9:14 am

Well! people you had it coming,Obama Care,how do you like him now.I studied this plan when he started it, and I knew we were going to be led to the slaughter like lambs.I said he won't make a second term,that's because we don't read folks,there are 23 new taxes in this bill,he raped medicare of millions and tried to blame the GOP..Please! don't try and say you didn't see this coming.I can bask in the solace that I didn't vote for him,but you who did ,deserve every penny and health benefit ,he takes away from you..say Goodbye America...

South Carolina Insurance
December 17, 2012 at 7:05 am

The average age of every people should be 62.

December 15, 2012 at 1:35 am

This is CRAZY!!! Why does the average American who has been paying into the system for years now have to wait longer to retire? Why does the Average American who has been paying for Medicare have to pay MORE into the system to fund it???? Agree w/ many other comments here... Why are the POLITICIANS not paying into this plan, and a health care plan??? THEY need to be paying into the system too. They make more money than most American's and they should be paying into the system too. The reason why things are NOT getting resolved is because they don't have any interest in the things that interest us.. Until we MAKE them PAY into the Social Security programs & take away their medical plans, only then will they care about they systems in which we have entrusted them to fix. THEY need to REMEMBER, their positions are ELECTED positions, they are NOT entitled to their salaries, benefits etc... Their salaries should be cut, they should pay into these plans & they should not have this income for their lifetime... The reason why things are not changing is because we don't MAKE THINGS CHANGE....