Medicare Buy In Would Be Very Expensive

Allowing people age 55 to 64 to “buy in” to Medicare:

That could cost about $7,600 a year per person or $15,200 for a couple, according to a budget office analysis of an earlier version of the concept.

In return for lower coverage:

The Democrats’ bill would limit out-of-pocket spending on health care by people in private plans ($5,000 a year for individuals and $10,000 for families). Medicare does not have such limits.

And inflated premiums:

Marilyn Moon, a health economist and former public trustee of Medicare, said… Medicare premiums could be higher than premiums charged by private health plans…

Moreover, private plans would have large numbers of healthy people under the age of 55, whose premiums could help cover costs for those 55 to 64. “Such cross-subsidies would not be available under the new Medicare option,” she said.

Full report from The New York Times here.

Comments (8)

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  1. Joe S. says:

    I don’t believe anybody would pay full price for Medicare if they could go into an exchange and buy community-rated insurance instead.

  2. Ken says:

    I agree with Joe. In the context of what is already in the bill, this idea is actually quite stupid.

  3. Stephen C. says:

    The key here is the word “unsubsidized.” There is not a chance in the world that will happen. Of course there will be subsidies and that will turn the entire program into a new entitlement.

  4. Vicki says:

    Why would anyone volunteer to join Medicare? The coverage is so bad that most seniors buy Medigap insurance and drug coverage as well — and even then they do not have beneifts as comprehensive as what a typical worker gets from an employer.

  5. John says:

    There is discussion on this same issue at the National Journal Health Blog here:

  6. Nancy says:

    I see that Paul Ginsburg agrees with you. Is this is a convergence of left and right thinking?

  7. Joe S. says:

    Can we all (left, right, up, down) agree this is a stupid idea and move on?

  8. Devon Herrick says:

    When politicians and public health advocates talk about letting people buy into Medicare beginning at age 55, they are really talking about huge taxpayer subsidies — mostly to people who want to retire early.