U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, member of the Senate Aging Committee, joined Senate colleagues to reintroduce the Medicare at 50 Act. This is legislation to give Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 the option of buying into Medicare.
WETM’s recent article entitled “Gillibrand introduces Medicare 50 Act in Washington” says that lowering the Medicare participation age to 50 would help 63 million uninsured and under-insured Americans — including those approaching retirement, or those facing mandatory retirement or layoffs — afford their health care costs. The law would bolster the Medicare program and lower costs for older Americans.
Gillibrand is asking the Biden administration to drop the Medicare eligibility age to 50, expand Medicare benefits to include hearing, dental, and vision care, cap out-of-pocket expenses for traditional Medicare recipients and negotiate lower drug prices, so everyone can afford the medications they need.
“As New Yorkers face growing health challenges and economic hardship in the wake of the pandemic, far too many older Americans are unsure if they can afford the costs of health care coverage. New Yorkers aged 50-64 are often in transition, planning for their retirements or facing layoffs and early retirement, and we must ensure that they can afford the health care they need,” said Senator Gillibrand. “As a member of the Aging Committee, expanding Medicare access and reducing prescription drug prices for older adults are some of my top priorities. This legislation will give millions more people across the country a valuable option for quality affordable health care and I will keep pushing for it and other provisions to strengthen Medicare in the American Families Plan.”
The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that 77% of the public supports expanding Medicare eligibility to people between the ages of 50 and 64.
Right now, 27% of adults nearing retirement are not confident they can afford health insurance over the next year. More than 25% have issues navigating health insurance options, coverage decisions and out-of-pocket costs.
Many people didn’t get the care they needed because of the cost, or they kept a job or delayed retirement to keep their employer-sponsored health insurance.
Reference: WETM (April 27, 2021) “Gillibrand introduces Medicare 50 Act in Washington”