KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Raising Medicare’s Eligibility Age Would Save Money, But Also Shift Costs

A new Congressional Budget Office estimate found the federal government could save $148 billion over 10 years by gradually increasing the Medicare age to 67.  

National Journal: Raising Medicare Age Would Save $148 Billion, CBO Says
The federal government could save $148 billion over 10 years by increasing Medicare eligibility two years to age 67, the Congressional Budget Office reported on Tuesday. The projected savings are lower than CBO's March estimate of $162 billion, but the earlier calculation did not include the premiums that seniors must pay into the program. A CBO official said that a senator requested the additional analysis of increasing the Medicare and Social Security eligibility ages (McCarthy and O’Donnell, 1/10).

The Hill: CBO: Raising Medicare Age Would Save $148 Billion
But it would increase costs to seniors, and some seniors would become uninsured or would pay higher prices for private insurance. CBO assumed that Obama's healthcare law would remain in place if the Medicare age is raised, meaning seniors would be able to buy private coverage through the new insurance exchanges. Without the healthcare law, "many more people" would end up uninsured if the eligibility age is raised, CBO said (Baker, 1/10).

Politico Pro: Rise In Medicare Age Would Save Money, Shift Costs
Raising the Medicare age would encourage people to work longer, slightly boost the number of older uninsured people and save Medicare $148 billion over a decade — while shifting some of the costs to Medicaid, private employers and the new health exchanges, according to a CBO issue brief released Tuesday. The congressional budget agency brief summed up some of its previous analysis of Medicare and how it would interact with possible changes to Social Security. The report assumes that the Medicare age would be raised from 65 to 67 very gradually — two months at a time until 2027 (Kenen, 10/10).

Modern Healthcare: Hiking Medicare Age Would Trim Outlays: CBO
Raising the eligibility age for Medicare would reduce the federal healthcare program's outlays by about $148 billion from 2012 through 2021, according to estimates released Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office. The estimate does not include the effect of changes in people's decisions about work and retirement, according to the 12-page issue brief, which also examined increasing both the early retirement age and full retirement age under the Social Security program (Zigmond, 1/10).

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