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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
Earl D Morgan
December 14, 2012 at 11:02 pm

You know i don't mine paying more for medicare or insurnce i have two at this time and it still don't pay all the bill. and i don't expict it to. i know that going to the hosital cost. Doctor's have so much over head now they have charge high to cover. my dad told me that a polition would teel you anything until he gets in office and then he or she would do what the rist
wanted. Thats both partys. What's going on right now was wrote dnow a long time ago and there won't be any chages until the end.

Ronnie Martinez
December 14, 2012 at 10:46 pm

If the politcians want to cut programs let them start with themselves. They are all over paid and their health insurance is 100% covered for the rest of their lives by us the tax payers. They should all go on medicare just like the rest of us and social secruity. That alone would save a great deal of money that could be used to help fund social secruity and medicare. The politcians are more un-American and greedy, they just think of themselves.

jerry
December 14, 2012 at 10:45 pm

I have heard all the b.s. about the liberal media I care to hear we are all to blame for the bind we are in. No network is more biased than fox. Your beloved Ronald Reagan deregulated the medical industry and costs went in orbit. Yes you like to parade the 16 trillion dollar defeceit on the screen as if it just happened.Reagan & Bush SR.(1.4 to 4.1 trillion) Clinton (4.1 trillion to 6.3 trillion.)Bush Jr,(6.3 trillion to 12 trillion.Obama (12 trillion to 16 trillion)true only in 4 years but you must consider the interest is growing.you cant balance the budget by tax increases or budget cuts only.It takes both

Pat
December 14, 2012 at 8:43 pm

I agree with Ron above. Also, if the government paid back what it borrowed for another department a few years ago - we wouldn't be in such a mess...Chuck is right on too, as when we (the poorer) and already on social security & medicare don't get raises - politicians do and shouldn't as far as I'm concerned. I'd have some savings that I don't have now if I made that much.

Joe
December 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Follow the rules, if you did not pay in you don't get benifits, period, Too many on SSI disability that did not pay in, I don't care what you are disabled from, you did not contribute you get nothing. No more easy Baker Act cases, you get out of prison you don't go on disability.

linda luciano
December 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm

REALLY??!! Have they forgotten that the very month you are eligible for Medicare..your soc sec decreases $100plus per month! Add on the cost of supplemental ins due to medicare not covering all health needs, you are looking at $200plus a month.Please explain to those brilliant minds that WE are giving back $$$ that we earned. Then add on your supplement deductibles..ha..more $$ out of our pocket. AND...we have the supplemental ins plans that do not cover "pre-existing" conditions. Makes alot of sense because most people 65 would never have any pre-existing issues...are you kidding me???!!

Keith
December 14, 2012 at 7:46 pm

The age of eligibility is not what is contributing to the growth of Medicare and will only add to overall cost for seniors. The problems to tackle are:

Fraud and Abuse. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force is making strides in tackling this monster, recently arresting 107 doctors and nurses for a $453 million fraud bust, thanks to resources provided by the Obamacare Act that were previously denied by a Congress in the pockets of the health care complex. Improper payments of $47 billion were prevented in 2012. Seniors are forming teams to report Medicare fraud for investigation, saving over $100 million. Vigilant seniors, generous whistleblower programs and lots of people in jail will tend to have a chilling effect on those considering fraud in the future.

MediGap coverage. This is the extra insurance the private sector sells to cover what Medicare doesn't. With no out-of-pocket exposure, seniors are more easily victimized by medical providers who want to maximize fees. Expect proposals on new limits on MediGap coverage to be taken up by the next Obama Administration.

Ron
December 14, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Medicare is NOT an entitlement. We, the people, have and are paying for it. Politicians will not talk about what pork programs need to be cut. The budget is mismanaged. The liberal media will not challege the administration to get answers and solutions that we can all live with. The administration will never get a handle on big business. The best paid lawyers work for business not the government. Congress only has the title "attorney" because they can't get a real job in the private sector. We keep re-electing the same ones and expect different results. It's time to clean house!

robertdo
December 14, 2012 at 7:33 pm

OK people worked get to retire so increase their retired age

someone no work has full benefit no limited age no fair to

old people

OK

Chuck
December 14, 2012 at 7:20 pm

If they would cut what the POLITCIANS get and waste first.They get paid 170*000 to 200,000 plus unlimited expence accounts and they want to cut what we work for all our life.Stop some of the waste in socalled goverment and money going overseas.Then I think their would be plenty of money.But they don't care about the avg,working man they just want to use us for a bank that they can get $$$ when ever they want IT'S SICK AND UN-AMERICAN