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New Report Reveals Raising the Medicare Age Would Hurt Illinois Residents

As concern grows over potential cuts to the safety net for America’s seniors, poor, and disabled, a new report by LSR shows that potential changes to Medicare will cost Illinois over $500 million in the first full year of implementation.

This report shows that raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67 would cost Illinois $524 million in the first full year of implementation, including $296 million to individuals, $203 million to Illinois businesses, and $25 million to the Illinois State Government. Such a change would increase premiums in the healthcare exchanges for those under 65, increase the average out-of-pocket costs for those 65-66 and increase Medicare premiums for those 67 and above. Overall, it could cost an Illinois resident nearly $7,578 over their lifetime. Many of the initial savings to the federal government are mitigated by a loss of Medicare premiums and increased Medicaid and healthcare exchange subsidy payments.

While increasing the Medicare eligibility age will save the federal government $5.7 billion a year, it will raise overall health care expenses by $11.4 billion and shift this additional burden to individuals, employers, and state governments. In contrast, the federal government could save at least $20 billion a year – more than 3 times the amount from raising the Medicare age – by allowing Medicare to offer a prescription drug benefit with negotiated prices. This proposal would also offer additional savings to seniors through lower co-payments and would simplify the complicated and confusing enrollment process for Part D.

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