The frameworks of the deal were as follows: In exchange for raising the Medicare retirement age (in addition to other entitlement reforms and cuts that together would add up to $3 trillion), GOP leadership would sign off on $800 billion to $1 trillion in revenue raisers. Those increases, however, would only come in 2013. Republicans would have their choice of poison too. Either they could craft and pass a sweeping package of tax reforms that would result in $800 billion to $1 trillion in revenue increases, or they would be forced to de-couple the Bush era tax cuts, allowing those for people making above $250,000 to expire.
Paul Ryan Wants to Increase the Medicare Eligibility Age to 67
But there is a significant clue in the GOP plan that it anticipates a surge in the ranks of the uninsured. Before the Affordable Care Act, the federal government’s primary mechanism for compensating health providers for delivering care to the uninsured was through “disproportionate share hospital” payments, or DSH, which are allocated to facilities that treated large numbers of the uninsured. Under Obamacare, DSH payments were set to be phased out because coverage rates were expected to increase dramatically…. The Republican plan would repeal those cuts entirely.
Raising the Age of Eligibility for Medicare to 67: An Updated Estimate of the Budgetary Effects
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.
Raising the Ages of Eligibility for Medicare and Social Security
Raising the ages at which people can collect Medicare and Social Security would reduce federal spending and increase federal revenues by inducing some people to work longer. However, raising the eligibility ages for those programs also would reduce people’s lifetime Social Security benefits and cause many of the people who would otherwise have enrolled in Medicare to face higher premiums for health insurance, higher out-of-pocket costs for health care, or both. This issue brief reviews how ages of eligibility affect beneficiaries under current law and how delaying eligibility would affect beneficiaries, the federal budget, and the economy.
Medicare Eligibility Requirements
For people with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), you’re eligible for Medicare if your condition requires a kidney transplant or regular dialysis treatment. In order to qualify for Medicare, you also need to be eligible for or already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, or you need to have worked long enough under Social Security, the Railroad Retirement Board, or as a government worker. You can also qualify for Medicare if you’re the spouse or dependent of someone who is eligible for Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits.