The High Cost to Latinos of Raising the Medicare Age
Raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67 could cost Latinos in the United States more than $2.4 billion in the first full year of implementation. Such a change would increase premiums in the healthcare exchanges for those under 64, increase the average out-of-pocket costs for those 66-67 and increase Medicare premiums for those 67 and above. Overall, it could cost the average Latino nearly $6,000 over their lifetime. While Medicaid eligibility and health exchange subsidies for low income workers could help mitigate some of the additional expense, working age Latinos are less likely than other groups to have employer-based coverage and longer life expectancies means Latinos will face the higher Medicare premiums for a longer time period than other groups.
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. Overall, raising the Medicare eligibility age will save the Federal Government $5.7 billion a year, while increasing overall health care expenses and shifting this additional burden to individuals, employers, and state governments.
In contrast, the Federal Government could save $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 who would have lower co-pays, and it would simplify the complicated and confusing enrollment process for Part D. The Latinos for a Secure Retirement coalition, made up of more than 10 leading national Latino organizations, strongly urges policymakers to oppose increases to the Medicare age and instead focus on creating a Medicare run prescription drug benefit with negotiated prices.