Shaheen Helps Introduce Bill to Expand Medicare Option to Anyone Over 50 Years Old, Lowering Costs for Older Americans
(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) helped reintroduce the Medicare at 50 Act to give people between the ages of 50 and 64 years old the option of buying into Medicare. Millions of Americans approaching retirement or forced to retire early due to layoffs or mandatory retirement face increasing health care needs and rising costs.
“Health care costs for many Granite State families are still way too high, especially during the pandemic. Giving people age 50 and older the option to buy into Medicare is a common-sense way to increase coverage to millions of families and lower costs for older Americans,” said Shaheen. “Health care should be a right, not a privilege, and I’ll continue working in the Senate to ensure quality health care is within reach for every family in the Granite State.”
Allowing more Americans to buy into Medicare has the potential to lower their costs, reinforce the existing Medicare program, and strengthen the existing health insurance marketplace. Polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates that 77 percent of the public supports giving people between the ages of 50 and 64 the option to buy Medicare.
Today, 27% of adults approaching retirement are not confident that they can afford health insurance over the next year, and more than a quarter have issues navigating health insurance options, coverage decisions and out-of-pocket costs. Many did not get the care they needed because of how much it would cost or kept a job or delayed retirement to keep their employer-sponsored health insurance.
Shaheen has led efforts in Congress to help reduce health insurance premium and out-of-pocket costs for families. Shaheen successfully included in the American Rescue Plan premium tax credit enhancement provisions from her legislation, the Improving Health Insurance Affordability Act, which will expand coverage to millions of Americans who are currently uninsured and reduce health care costs for millions of additional individuals who already have coverage, which is especially critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. Estimates indicate Shaheen’s provision will lead to a more than 37 percent reduction in monthly premium costs, on average. Senator Shaheen also spearheaded Senate Democrats’ proposal to make health care affordable and accessible for Americans during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Shaheen also led all 47 Senate Democrats on a Senate resolution that would reverse the Department of Justice’s decision to side with U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor’s ruling that would strike down the health care law. This health care sabotage could result in 133 million Americans losing protections for pre-existing conditions, millions more Americans without health insurance, soaring prescription drug costs for seniors and nearly 90,000 Granite Staters losing health care coverage. She introduced the Marketing and Outreach Restoration to Empower (MORE) Health Education Act of 2019 with Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Gary Peters (D-MI) to counteract the Trump administration’s sabotage efforts that slashed funding for health care enrollment advertising and marketing by 90 percent after Donald Trump took office. Shaheen, Baldwin and Warner called on the last administration to do more to prevent third-party web brokers from steering individuals toward junk health insurance plans that do not provide coverage of pre-existing conditions or essential health benefits.