Senior Connection

Jul 6, 2011

Latest Medicare Plan Proposes Shift of Eligibility Age to 67

Doorland Health
By Emily Mullin

In the ongoing debate over how to fix the country’s Medicare entitlement program – which is predicted to be insolvent by 2024 – lawmakers have introduced yet another plan to overhaul the program.

Senators Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., proposed a plan June 28 that would alter Medicare funding and reduce the national debt.

The plan could save more than $600 billion over 10 years, based on estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, and up to an additional $100 billion in savings from implementing other provisions in the plan. But some are still skeptical of the impact the plan could have on seniors.

One of the more controversial proposals in the plan is to adjust the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67 to reflect changes in average life expectancies. According to the Centers for Disease Control, when Medicare was passed in 1965, the average lifespan for Americans was 70.2. In 2006, the average lifespan for Americans was 77.7 – an increase of 10.6 percent. Lieberman and Coburn argue in their plan that increasing the eligibility age is consistent with the increase in the average lifespan in the U.S.

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