(Washington, DC) —U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced the Medicare at 50 Act yesterday to give people between the ages of 50 and 64 years old the option of buying into Medicare. Millions of Americans who are approaching retirement or are being forced to retire early due to layoffs or mandatory retirement face increasing health care needs and rising costs.
“Granite Staters want to see Congress improving the accessibility and affordability of health care, and this legislation would be a big step forward, particularly for those who are 50 and older,” said Shaheen. “Coverage through Medicare would provide those who are approaching retirement with reliable health care as well as peace of mind.”
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. Recent 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.
U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tina Smith (D-MN) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) also cosponsored the Medicare at 50 Act. Congressmen Brian Higgins (NY-26), John Larson (CT-01), Joe Courtney (CT-02) and Peter Welch (VT-AL) introduced companion legislation in the House.