Will Medicare Be Lowered To 60 Years of Age and Who Will Benefit?
This article may be a bit early but I wanted to explore what the “Improving Medicare Act” is trying to accomplish and the effect if it passed. So we will focus on one of the proposed areas in the bill. Will people 60- 65 be able to get Medicare?
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) introduced the Improving Medicare Coverage Act, which would provide Medicare on the same terms as it does now at age 60, rather than age 65, with expanded eligibility kicking in six months after passage. The expansion of coverage would begin six months after the bill is enacted. Passage of this bill would be beneficial to many of the 21 million Americans aged 60 to 64, particularly the approximately 1.6 million who are uninsured.
How Does the Act Help Lower-Income Medicare Beneficiaries
The Improving Medicare Coverage Act extends the ability of low-income individuals to sign up for and maintain the New Medicare Cost Program through this program, which provides a package of counseling, financial assistance, and other services to assist people enrolling in or retaining coverage under this program. The “MCAP” would also pay for the entire Part D insurance premium and reduce prescription copays to just $1.30 for generic drugs and $4.00 for name-brand drugs for enrollees with income up to 200 percent FPL.
The Medicare Cost Assistance benefits in the bill are the same as those currently available to Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries. (The QMB program, which pays for Medicare Part A and B costs in full, is the most comprehensive of four Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) open to low-income enrollees with few assets. The QMB program has a current income eligibility limit of $1,094 per month for an individual.
The bill would also transfer the administration of these benefits from state Medicaid programs to Medicare, with the federal government assuming full costs. To date, low-income Medicare beneficiaries seeking assistance with the expenses of Medicare have had to tackle a complicated web of MSPs and/or state Medicaid programs that may be time-consuming or even impossible to complete because of stringent application procedures and processes. The legislation would establish a single streamlined application and fund an outreach program to inform qualifying enrollees of the available benefit. Couples with children, for example, could receive $1,772.
Who gets the benefits from the Medicare Cost Program?
Providing a Medicare benefit that covers all premiums and almost all out-of-pocket expenditures to all Medicare enrollees with incomes up to 200% FPL would be a significant help for millions of beneficiaries. According to the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), by 2018, 12.2 million Medicare enrollees had some form of dual eligibility, with 8.7 million being “fully” dual eligibles, with all or almost all expenses covered. Only 5.3 million seniors in the United States are complete dual eligibles, according to a recent poll by Age Wave and Healthways. Dual eligibles make up 40% of disabled Medicare beneficiaries. Only 5.3 million people in the United States are total dual eligible adults.
Medicare enrollees who lack dual eligibility pay a minimum of $148.50
per month (the Part B premium
for all but the wealthiest 5% of the population) for full coverage. The Part B premium can be the only premium the enrollee pays via private Medicare Advantage plans that include Part D prescription drug coverage at no additional premium. According to KFF, almost two-thirds of 26 million Medicare Advantage enrollees are in plans that include some form of dental, vision, and hearing coverage as well as other extras such as gym memberships. The cost difference is offset by a restricted provider network – which is frequently narrow in MA plans that do not have an increased premium.
This bill would be amazing for the citizens that are 60-65 and the lower-income Medicare beneficiaries, It would enable them to get all the benefits they will actually need as they become older and in some cases required more intense medical services as a result of aging. But, I think it will be a hard one to pass because it is not a priority and because so many other needs of the country are priorities. But let’s see if Congress will step up if not now they will eventually have to deal with the growing and aging population of this country and some of them will need serious Medical help that they cannot currently acquire because of the limitations in the current Medicare Coverage and Programs.
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Article by Rolando Arellano J.D. a Graduate of Law School, Harvard postdoctoral program, former professor at the University of San Francisco, and a Medicare Specialist.
Hello, my name is Rolando Arellano and I am the President of AYA and Associates who are the creator of YOURMEDICARE.
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