Raising Medicare’s Eligibility Age: A Complex Proposition

December 17, 2012

With Americans living longer, some policymakers are proposing to gradually raise Medicare’s eligibility age from age 65 to 67 as part of a broader package to reduce the federal debt. The later starting point is projected to reduce federal spending by $113 billion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office, which estimates that most people would gain insurance coverage through other sources.

Changes to the eligibility age raise important questions that the briefing addressed. How would this change affect costs for 65 and 66 year olds who would no longer be eligible for Medicare? What would be the impact of costs for others who stay on Medicare, and for younger adults who get their coverage through the exchanges? Would costs also rise for employers if workers remain on the job longer? How would the change affect the workforce and the overall size of the economy?

A distinguished group of panelists offered insight into these and related issues:

Juliette Cubanski, associate director, Program on Medicare Policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, will discuss Kaiser’s updated report examining the expected effects of raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67.

Gail Wilensky, senior fellow at Project HOPE, and a former Medicare and Medicaid administrator, will assess the economic impact of increasing the eligibility age and the expected effect on federal spending.

David Certner, federal policy director at AARP, who previously served as chairman of the ERISA Advisory Council at the Department of Labor, will highlight the main concerns of 65 and 66 year olds, as well as those on Medicare.

Paul Dennett, senior vice president for health reform at the American Benefits Council, which represents Fortune 500 companies, and a congressional staff veteran, will address projections that raising the eligibility age could have a significant impact on the business community.

Ed Howard of the Alliance and Tricia Neuman of Kaiser will co-moderate the discussion.

This forum took place on Monday, December 17, at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room G50.


Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

Speaker Presentations

Juliette Cubanski Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
David Certner Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
Tricia Neuman Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

Event Details

Agenda (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
Speaker Biographies (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

Event Resources