Possibility of 43 percent reduction in their healthcare spending is not ruled out, if the Medicare eligibility threshold dropped to 50 years of age and uptake was universal among those eligible, employer-sponsored health plans- recent research by Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation(KFF) health system tracker estimated.
- Estimations for reducing healthcare cost: According to the KFF researchers’ estimates, expanding Medicare coverage to individuals ages 60 to 64 could lead to a 15 % decrease in employers’ healthcare spending. “While a shift from employer coverage to Medicare would increase costs to the federal government, total health care spending would likely decrease for 60-64-year-olds who move from employer coverage and for others with employer coverage,” the researchers determined.
- Survey work and analysis: The researchers used medical claims from the 2018 IBM Health Analytics MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Database as well as microdata from the CDC’s 2019 National Health Interview Survey Sample Adult Questionnaire to explore the possible implications of lowering the age of Medicare eligibility.
- Reports gathered about enrolment: If the threshold for Medicare eligibility lowered to 55 years and older, then employers could save 30 % on healthcare spending. If the level became 50 years of age, then employers could see healthcare spending decline by as much as 43%. Employees between the ages of 50 and 54 accounts for 9% of large group health plan enrollment, ages 55 to 59 amount to 8%, and 60 to 64-year-olds make up 7% of enrollment. But the youngest age group contributes 13 % of spending, the middle group contributes 14 %, and the eldest group accounts for 15 %.
- Maximum Savings: These estimates represent the maximum savings possible if all Medicare-eligible individuals switched from their employer-sponsored health plans to Medicare when they reached the appropriate threshold. Approximately two-thirds of seniors who continue working will choose to receive coverage from Medicare—the majority but not all of the Medicare-eligible population.
- Government indulges in new plans: Ultimately, savings for large employers and other impacts would depend on newly eligible seniors’ uptake of Medicare instead of employer-sponsored coverage as well as the health status of those who would choose to shift to Medicare. Congress is currently considering proposals that would allow individuals who are under the age of Medicare eligibility to buy into Medicare coverage in order to increase access to care and affordability.