Lowering the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60 would result in 400,000 fewer people being uninsured but federal spending would increase by nearly $45 million.
Adjusting the Medicare eligibility age could enhance health insurance coverage for millions—including individuals who retire early, cannot find a job with health benefits, or have coverage with high cost-sharing requirements—but would significantly increase federal healthcare spending.
If the Medicare eligibility age were lowered, almost all uninsured adults aged 60 to 64 who currently do not have insurance would be covered by Medicare Part A.
Employers would spend $26.7 billion less on health insurance, as 23 percent of people age 60 to 64 with employer-sponsored insurance would switch to Medicare coverage.
Overall healthcare spending for adults ages 60 to 64 would increase by $10.9 billion.
State governments would save $1.7 billion as some Medicaid enrollees become dually eligible for Medicare.
Researchers determine that lowering the age of Medicare eligibility would lead to small coverage gains and improve the overall affordability of health insurance at a high cost to the federal government.
About the Urban Institute
The nonprofit Urban Institute is dedicated to elevating the debate on social and economic policy. For nearly five decades, Urban scholars have conducted research and offered evidence-based solutions that improve lives and strengthen communities across a rapidly urbanizing world. Their objective research helps expand opportunities for all, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the effectiveness of the public sector. Visit the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center for more information specific to its staff and its recent research.
Capping Medicare Beneficiary Part D Spending at $2,000: Who Would it Help and How Much?
A proposed out-of-pocket spending cap in Medicare Part D would protect eligible seniors from recurring high drug payments.