Will Raising Medicare Age to 67 Increase Healthcare Costs?

Healthcare spending for some services dropped by nearly a third when people turned 65 and switched from private insurance to Medicare, according to a recent study. The decline was driven by lower prices paid by the Medicare program to doctors and other providers rather than a drop-off in the volume of services seniors receive.  (U.S. News and World Report)

When Medicare beneficiaries enter the program at age 65, researchers found, healthcare spending drops by $38.56 — or 32.4% — per beneficiary per quarter. The volume of healthcare services used by beneficiaries showed no change once they entered Medicare, which may be attributable to the program’s large size and purchasing power, researchers said. (McKnights)

Raising the eligibility age has been suggested for years as a way to slow the growth of Medicare spending, though there are no proposed bills to move the policy forward.(Healthcare Finance)

Note: The Medicare study shows that although government may save money by raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, the overall spending on national healthcare will go up. How will this impact the dual eligible population — people who are on both Medicare and Medicaid?

What is a Dual-eligible Beneficiary?