Outlays for Medicare would be lower under this option because fewer people would be eligible for the program than the number projected under current law. In addition, outlays for Social Security retirement benefits would decline slightly because raising the eligibility age for Medicare would induce some people to delay applying for retirement benefits. One reason is that some people apply for Social Security at the same time that they apply for Medicare; another reason is that this option would encourage some people to postpone retirement to maintain their employment-based health insurance coverage until they became eligible for Medicare. CBO expects that latter effect would be fairly small, however, because of two considerations: First, the proportion of people who currently leave the labor force at age 65 is only slightly larger than the proportion who leave at slightly younger or older ages, which suggests that maintaining employment-based coverage until the eligibility age for Medicare is not the determining factor in most people’s retirement decisions. Second, with the opening of the health insurance exchanges, workers who give up employment-based insurance by retiring will have access to an alternative source of coverage (and may qualify for subsidies if they are not eligible for Medicare). This option could also prompt more people to apply for Social Security disability benefits so they could qualify for Medicare before reaching the usual age of eligibility. However, in CBO’s view, that effect would be quite small, and it is not included in this estimate.
Changing the Age of Medicare Eligibility: Implications for Older Adults, Employers, and the Government
Extending Medicare benefits to nondisabled adults younger than 65, either by lowering the eligibility age outright or by allowing near elderly adults to buy into the Medicare program, could encourage some workers to retire early. By reducing or even eliminating the period during which early retirees without RHI benefits would need to purchase expensive private nongroup coverage to avoid becoming uninsured, extending Medicare coverage would lower the costs of retiring. Policies such as Medicare expansions that encourage retirement heighten concerns about the ability of the economy to support the growing retired population. But they would give some older workers who receive employer-sponsored health benefits on the current job the freedom to leave their job and pursue a second career in another line of work, or become self-employed, without worrying about the availability of health insurance coverage.
Eligibility: Medicare Coverage Before Age 65
Are the child or widow(er) age 50 or older, including a divorced widow(er), of someone who has worked long enough in a government job where Medicare taxes were paid and you meet the requirements of the Social Security disability program.
Raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67
Many older Americans wait until they are eligible for original Medicare to get health insurance, avoiding all preventive care measures and potentially prolonging and worsening any illnesses. Analysts believe that increasing the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 will force older Americans to stay in the workforce, drive poorer seniors into Medicaid, and leave many without any health insurance coverage at all. In sum, raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 would shift the costs from original Medicare to seniors and Medicaid which would barely reduce the costs the government pays for coverage of the 65 and 66 year old individuals. Additionally, raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 will result in individuals waiting even longer before seeing a physician for preventive screenings and possible development of certain health issues which could have been caught earlier. Prevention is less expensive than treatment. Therefore, without seniors taking advantage of original Medicare’s preventive screenings at age 65 until they become Medicare eligible at age 67 could result in more costly treatments of conditions that could have been caught during preventive screenings and dealt with at that time.
Medicare Eligibility Requirements
Part C: Medicare Part C is the Medical Advantage Plan whose services are performed by private companies also approved by Medicare. Part C combines Part A and B as well as any other necessary medical services a person may require (drug prescription, hearing, and vision services). If you are eligible for Medicare you are eligible for a Part C plan. Many people will opt for this plan because it offers the ability to add a wide range of service coverage to their medical insurance plan, but Plan C is not offered in every state. However, most Medicare Advantage Plans consist of particular doctors and hospitals in an area that a person must use in order to receive coverage for the medical treatment they receive. In addition to the premium paid for Part B Medicare coverage, a person receiving Part C coverage will have to pay a monthly premium. There are several Medicare Advantage Plans available to you. These plans include Medicare Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO), Medicare Preferred Provider Organization plans (PPO), Medicare Private Fee-for-Service plans (PPFS), Medicare Special Needs, and Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA).