WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) joined Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee Health Care Subcommittee, Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) today in reintroducing 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.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it abundantly clear that we need to expand options for access to basic, quality and affordable healthcare,” said Senator Cardin. “I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing legislation to expand Medicare eligibility so families and individuals will no longer have to sacrifice their health for other life expenses.”
“If you’re between the age of 50 and 65 and are laid off or forced into early retirement, finding health coverage can be expensive and challenging. Lowering the Medicare age to 50 will give Americans more options. This is especially important during the COVID-19 crisis, when more and more families are facing increased health care expenses without health insurance,” said Senator Stabenow.
“Lowering the Medicare eligibility age will give more Ohioans and people across the country another trusted option for quality health care. This is a step in the right direction to help millions of people, strengthen the Affordable Care Act and get us closer to making sure everyone has healthcare coverage,” said Senator Brown.
“When it comes to providing affordable health care for every American, there is more we must do right now to change the status quo, improve our health care system and lower costs,” said Senator Baldwin. “Our legislation will give millions of Americans another choice for more affordable, quality health insurance coverage. This reform will provide a high quality option for people to buy into Medicare and get the health care coverage they need at a price they can afford.”
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.
Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) are also cosponsoring the Medicare at 50 Act.