No Medicare until 67?
Some have proposed delaying eligibility for Medicare for two years as a way to shore up its finances. Would that really help?
This postcomes fromGlenn Ruffenachat partner site SmartMoney.
That's just one of the many proposals being discussed in Washington as part of the debate about the future of the health insurance program. There's certainly precedent for changing the rules: The age when individuals qualify for full retirement benefits from Social Security is climbing gradually to 67 after decades of standing at 65.
On its face, changing Medicare eligibility to age 67 would likely reduce growth in the program's spending and, ideally, yield significant savings in Washington. At the same time, the change could encourage some employees to delay retirement and work beyond age 65. That, in turn, would increase payroll taxes and general revenues and bolster the Medicare and Social Security trust funds.
But a recent study (.pdf file) from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit group in Menlo Park, Calif., indicates that the savings could be much smaller than anticipated -- and that the change could shift significant costs onto the shoulders of adults ages 65 and 66 as well as other government programs. Post continues after video.
No easy choices
Indeed, the findings illustrate the "tough policy choices that lie ahead when Washington gets serious about reducing the federal deficit," says Tricia Neuman, vice president at Kaiser who heads the organization's research into proposed changes to Medicare.
The Kaiser study begins by assuming both full implementation of the 2010 health reform law and the higher eligibility age in 2014. As such, gross federal savings in 2014 would total about $31.1 billion. Net savings, though, would total only about one-quarter of that figure, or about $7.6 billion. That's because Uncle Sam would end up spending more money on people covered by Medicaid ($8.9 billion) and on federal premium and cost-sharing subsidies ($7.5 billion) that are part of health care reform.
At the same time, the federal government would end up forgoing $7 billion in Medicare premiums from individuals ages 65 and 66 who wouldn't be enrolled in the program.
The study also found that health care costs for employers would jump about $4.5 billion, if corporate medical plans -- rather than Medicare -- became the primary insurance coverage for 65- and 66-year-olds.
Workers, of course, also would feel the pinch. Kaiser estimates that -- among the 5 million people ages 65 and 66 who would initially be affected by the change -- about 75% would end up spending an average of $2,400 more for health care in 2014 than they would with coverage under Medicare.
In all, increasing the eligibility age to 67, Kaiser estimates, would result in a net increase of $5.6 billion in out-of-pocket costs for individuals who otherwise would have been covered by Medicare.
More on SmartMoney and MSN Money:
Since when do you pay into something over 40 years of your working life and it becomes an
"entitlement" that they can change "because they want to" and borrow from it over the years and then say its the publics fault?????? HEllo america - wake up - entitlements???? thats what the expense accounts , salaries of the reps and congressman - their exclusive gyms, their "benefit" that we pay for are - if we are going to be cut, what about them? Term limits, lesser salaries - required number of hours to work - no more hiring government employees that get COL increases, but No raises when private employees of companies get nothing but increases in the COL and no breaks or raises - WAKE UP AMERICA - CLEAN OUT CONGRESS AND THE HOUSE.
Social Security is a retirement program which was paid into for the years I worked just like a 401K or and IRA, I am entitled to collect upon retirement, which was set up when I started working nearly 40 years ago to be age 65. It is not fair to me or anyone else that the government changes the date because it couldn't handle it's finances properly. Not my fault. I did not fault on my payments into the program so why should I have to pay for it. For the same reasons I am entitled to draw on Medicare which I also contributed to. This a travesty.
Congressmen and congressional staff should not be guarenteed gold-plated health benefits while the rest of us are having our medicare delayed until 67 or privatized. We need SHARED sacrifice. Congress should be exclusively dependant upon the same retirement and health benefits the rest of us recieve, so that when they propose cuts, they are impacted by the cuts they propose. We must END congressional participation in the FEHBP, so that congressmen & women depend on Medicare just like the rest of us.
Congress and Senators should pay for own Medical benefits, instead of having life coverage at Public Expense they make enough money, take those perks away and give it to the needy. Stop the Junk mail being sent out by elected officials and let them use electronic media, just a few ways that would save money, so the government does not have to borrow money from social security and cut the medicaid for the seniors and make them suffer more that they have to choose between Food and Medicine. Companies cutting benefits and dont want to hire older people how do you expect these people to afford any thing.
This is shameful, the government forces people to pay into this, then says "Oops, not enough money for you!" Sure you can fund your own retirement plan, but who knows if the finds will still be there after all these corporate rip offs?
Not to mention all the bums on disability! No, not all people are on disability are bums. However people who have never paid into this program, should NOT be drawing funds from it. Do you know that almost anyone with who has a doctor and lawyer, can get disability, whether they are disabled or not?
I know a family of bums that live off social security, they receive as much as if they worked for minimum wage, plus free healthcare. (Free to them, paid for by taxpayers.) So no, they are not wealthy, but they are satisfied because they don't have to work. (yet, many do part-time or occasionally... for "under the table" wages.)
If the social security organization had people checking up on these "bums" and booting them off the program it would more than pay for their salaries.
The U.S. will give an estimated $26 billion in foreign aid in 2008—70% more than when President George W. Bush took office (the figure doesn’t include funds related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan). More than 150 countries get financial assistance from the U.S. How about we assist our own people first and you put back the money that has been stolen from social security and medicare and we could retire at 55 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I worked in social services for over thirty years, and I've seen firsthand where major cuts and savings could be made. The general public has no idea how much is being given out as benefits to people who are physically and mentally able to be employed. It's just an incredible drain. Anyone who can't take care of themselves deserves to be helped, but no one else. Why take benefits from someone who has gotten up and gone to work every day for decades to offset the waste? Politically, it's easier and more popular to take from the working class and leave the others alone. We have a system where fairness and common sense are a thing of the past.
Cut the military budget. Stop fighting in countries that don't want us (remember Viet Nam). Bring our troops home and have them protect "our home". They can even spend money on us, like they do in Afghanistan, so that we will like the U.S.
Have the politicians pay for their health plans, their gym memberships and their vacations. They say that these are all earned because they are working for you the voting public. They are just humble public servants. Since when do servants get these type of benefits? Also, from the looks of our country they have not been serving the voting public to the best of their ability. Maybe it is their leader?
Cut foreign aid to most foreign countries instead of cutting Social Security and Medicaid. It is time for our country to take care of it's own.
Also, establish term limits for congress. The "good ole boy/girl clubs" need to be slowed down. In 2008, Obama was preaching "Yes we Can!" and now he has proven that "No we can't" We are so worried about our overseas friends that we don't even look at the terrible shape we are putting our own country in. Shame on our elected officials, get them out of power and put a new bunch in. Then keep doing that until they get the message and we finally get the right bunch in.
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