Many Baby Boomers Fear They Will Not Be Able To Rely On Medicare
2011 will bring the first influx of Baby Boomers to Medicare -- and their influence on the program could be significant.
The Associated Press/The Washington Post: Poll Shows Boomers' Pessimism On Medicare
With the first baby boomers becoming old enough to qualify for Medicare starting Jan. 1, many of them fear that they won't be able to rely on the government-run health insurance plan throughout their retirement. A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds that 43 percent of Americans born between 1946 and 1964 say they don't expect to be able to depend on Medicare forever, while 20 percent think their Medicare is secure. The rest have mixed feelings. The survey also shows a willingness among adults of all ages to sacrifice to preserve Medicare benefits that most Americans say they deserve after years of paying taxes into the system at work. Take the contentious issue of Medicare's eligibility age, fixed at 65, while the qualifying age for Social Security is rising gradually to 67. Initially, 63 percent of boomers polled dismissed the idea of raising the eligibility age to keep Medicare afloat. But when the survey forced them to choose between raising the age or cutting benefits, 59 percent chose to raise the age and keep the (Agiesta and Alonso-Zaldivar, 12/30).
USA Today: Medicare To Swell With Baby Boomer Onslaught
Baby Boomers are about to create a record population explosion in the nation's health care program for seniors. Starting on Saturday, Baby Boomers begin turning 65 and qualifying for Medicare - one every eight seconds. A record 2.8 million will qualify in 2011, rising to 4.2 million a year by 2030, projections show. In all, the government expects 76 million Boomers will age on to Medicare. Even factoring in deaths over that period, the program will grow from 47 million today to 80 million in 2030. At the same time, health care costs are projected to outpace inflation, and medical advances will extend lives, straining the program's finances. It's expected to cost $929 billion by 2020, an 80% increase over 10 years (Wolf, 12/30).