Medicare at 60

Presidential candidate Biden has proposed letting 60-year olds enroll in Medicare under the same terms as age 65.

According to Biden:

“Under this concept, Americans would have access, if they choose, to Medicare when they turn 60, instead of when they turn 65. Medicare benefits would be provided to them as they are to current Medicare recipients. This would make Medicare available to a set of Americans who work hard and retire before they turn 65, or who would prefer to leave their employer plans, the public option, or other plans they access through the Affordable Care Act before they retire.”

Today the unsubsidized premium for a 60 year old under Obamacare is illustrated as follows:

“A 60-year old making $55,000 wouldn’t qualify for subsidies under current law, so he or she would have to pay an average of $11,744 per year, or 21% of his income, for a mid-range silver plan,” Kaiser Family Foundation vice president Cynthia Cox, who directs the nonprofit’s program on the ACA said of figures compiled by the organization’s health insurance market place calculator. Source: Forbes

If 60+ year olds could enroll in Medicare, it would be a boon for employers offering health benefits. It would not be so great for health care providers who would be paid less than market prices by Medicare. This could put more pressure on non-Medicare prices.

In other words, costs merely get moved from one place to another and it’s the choice part that creates problems.

3 comments

  1. Who is going to pay for it? There is no such thing as free. If it requires any money from working Americans it will just end up mortgaging the future of young people. We are living longer and retiring earlier. So making it easy sounds ludicrous to me.

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    1. Sooner or later, one way or the other all health care costs will be paid for in a uniform manner with a combination of employer/worker payroll taxes, premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Not unlike current Medicare. Employers on average pay 8% of payroll for health benefits today so that’s one source. The real problem is that if you make everything an option or choice, it cannot work. People will make decisions in their best interest causing adverse selection. No, I’m not talking about a Sanders type M4A, but a system very similar to current Medicare which after all is used by 60 million Americans, preserves choice of providers, private insurance and minimal interference between patient and doctor.

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