• Quick question on raising the Medicare eligibility age

    I’m just curious. I’m seeing a lot more talk about raising the Medicare retirement age than I have before. My thoughts on that are a matter of record.

    But every time I ask about what will happen to 65 and 66 year olds, specifically how will they get insurance, I’m greeted with hand waving and mumbling about the health care exchanges and the PPACA. Given that many states have refused to implement exchanges, and a significant portion of the country wants to repeal the law, do people still support raising the eligibility age without the PPACA in place?

    Why isn’t this the first question asked of everyone who supports raising the eligibility age, “You  support the PPACA then, right”?

    • Well if an Exchange isn’t implemented in a State, HHS will set one up in its place. But yes, without PPACA and guaranteed issue, ratings bands, and no exclusions for preexisting conditions, a lot of those people wouldn’t get adequate or insurance (if they could get insurance at all).

    • While I don’t know all the details of the plan, it makes sense to me that the age for Medicare should be raised to 67. The age for full retirement was increased to 67. The 65 and 66 year olds will likely still be working. I don’t think the overall impact of raising Medicare age to 67 is as severe as anticipated by some since the change is to coincide with retirement age – as it has historically. It makes sense to me to keep Medicare qualified age consistent with full social security retirement age.

    • I believe M is correct. There would be no insurance available without legislation. In the Ryan plan to abolish Medicare for everyone there was a provision that insurance would be available to seniors through the exchanges. I believe this is as far as it went-just a statement. But the insurance industry made it clear in the PPACA debate that without a universal mandate they wouldn’t provide guaranteed coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. I don’t believe the Ryan plan had a universal mandate, therefore no real coverage for pre-existing conditions at any age. Since age is a pre-existing condition it’s fair to suppose that any coverage for seniors waiting for Medicare for two additional years will be basically unavailable in any system lacking a mandate for universal coverage. The only system in sight with such a universal mandate is the PPACA. Without it those losing insurance at age 65 will be out of luck for two years. Most employer coverage now terminates or changes significantly at age 65.

      In other words just saying elegibility for Medicare should be delayed until age 67 leaves a lot of serious problems undiscussed. It just assumes that guaranteed coverage for seniors can be bought from an exchange at reasonable rates. Without a lot of context touched on above, this is a dubious assumption.