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Will Medicare eligibility rise?

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com
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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66 Comments
john
December 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm

WHAT EVER HAPPEND TO THE REAL SOCIAL SEC?? THE MONEY YOU PUT INTO YOUR SOCIAL SEC. ACCCOUNT, WAS YOUR MONEY! OMG DID I SAY YOUR MONEY? YES, IT WAS YOUR MONEY. WHY IS IT ON THE EDGE OF BANKRUPTCY. IF IT IS YOUR MONEY SET ASIDE FOR YOU WHY ISNT THERE FOR YOU? WHY WOULD THE GOVERMENT RAISE THE RETIREMENT AGE THAT WOULD ONLY TAKE AWAY JOBS FROM THE YOUNG PEOPLE JUST STARTING. THE 62 YEAR OLDS SHOLD HAVE THEIR MONEY COMMING TO THEM. LET THE YOUNG TAKE OVER THE WORK FORCE.

laurence arico
December 14, 2012 at 12:19 pm

It seems that the only thing that our congreass and senate are good at ius feathering their own nests. Obama care is good for us as citizens but our reps have to have a special plan for themselves. In what area do you rate pension with a little time served? However this is our own fault since we continue to elect people with no regard for anyone except themselves.

James
December 14, 2012 at 11:31 am

I and millions of born and raised in the United States Of America have HAD ENOUGH OF THE BIG GOVERMENT B--- S----. ALL OF US WORK MOST IN THE MIDDLE CLASS AND SUPPORT MOST OF THE RED TAPE WELL !!!!!! BACK OFF !!!!!! 50 TO 55 YEARS OF WORK IS LONG ENOUGH. MOST OF US GOT SICK COULD NOT WORK AND TRIED TO SIGN UP FOR A FEW DOLLARS TO KEEP YOUR HOMES AND STILL PAY TAXES EVERY YEAR. FIND YOUR FUNDS ELSE WHERE LIKE CUT BACK YOUR PAY DO NOT EXCEPT LIFE LONG BENIFITS. TAKE THE SAME MEDICAL AND S.S YOU OFFER US.IN OTHER WORDS WORK AT OR JUST OVER MINIUM WAGE THEN SAVE FOR A GOOD RETIREMENT. NOW IS IN TIME TO STAND UP AND BE HEARD.

Willard F.
December 14, 2012 at 11:28 am

Chaplin Judy Lynn,
Shame on you! W.W.J.D.

Chaplain Judy Lynn
December 14, 2012 at 11:04 am

If everyone would realize that the only one who really has your back, his name is Jesus Christ.

You will also, in the future see who you should have voted for to save United States.

More Christians are weak these days, the flesh has taken them over from pride and greed.

Satan is ruling now, just like the Bible said he would in the end times.

Sad that the USA has cancelled all things pertaining to our "One Nation Under God" Prayers in the schools, Pledge allegiance to our flag, and the Ten Commandments, then people wonder why we are in such a mess.

Obama Care is going to hurt more than help in the end, already medical aren't allowed help the elderly with surgeries.

People who should be working make more from government than having a job.

I am not talking about the people who have real disability can't be cured.

All of you should be drug tested that are continuing to have babies to draw more from the state and government, if you can't take care of your children then give them to someone who will love them give them a good home, doesn't need the states money.

It is a shame we have all gotten to lazy to work and wages don't match high rise living expenses so people want to work.

God help us to trust in you.

d brown
December 14, 2012 at 10:56 am

The government should have left their hands off money that has been put into this fund for years. The older generation has paid this and counted on this. they have built this great nation, and who do we discount. Other countries count their aging as an assest, we look at them as a burden---SAD SO SAD. DID THE GOVERNMENT THINK ALL THE MONEY THEY TOOK FROM THIS FUND WOULD BE REPLACED. HOW LONG HAVE WE KNOWN THE BABY BOOMER GEN WAS COMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

J Heavy
December 14, 2012 at 10:51 am

The easiest way to fund SS & Medicare is stop the cutoff for paying into the system. No tax increase needed, just everyone pays all year no matter what their salary or income is.

teresa moore
December 14, 2012 at 10:37 am

Social Security was set up for RETIREMENT and not to be used for any other purpose. Check back a few years and see what party starte digging into it to cover the expences of needless and careless spending and then blossomed into diaster.

Marc
December 14, 2012 at 10:33 am

I always hear that entitlement programs must be cut because its the biggest contributor to the deficit. I never hear that these programs also should be reign in,Foreign Aid,Defense,Annual Contributions to the IMF,World Bank, United Nations.Why do we have troops in over 180 countries and large navies to support. Why do we make other peoples problems our problems?Example: We went into Iraq which cost 1 Trillion dollars on borrowed money and couldn't account for billions of dollars by our own government auditors.Finally we must try to do a better job in controlling stealing, waste fraud and abuse and prohibit corporations and special interest from contributing monies to political parties and candidates.

B Brown
December 14, 2012 at 10:12 am

As we work all these years and pay into SS my money is sent to the goverment for savings for my old age. This money is making some intrest right. Therefor it soukd have grown and should cover for my retierment. But no the goverment uses it and there goes the intrest it would make. I am not asked if it can be used even though my hard work put it ther. The age to draw on it was 62 at first. I think the goverment owes everyone a explanation
on where our money has gone to and why they have the right to change things to there way wheather it be right or left side. If you want to cut spending how about cutting there saleries since they don't work 40 hrs a week and make them punch in.