Raising Medicare Age Would Cost $789 Million, Group Says

An increase in the Medicare age would cost Florida and its residents $789 million a year, according to a report issued last week by Latinos for a Secure Retirement.

The group says many of the increased costs come from having workers between the ages of 65 to 66 enter the private market — where they would be the riskiest patients and drive up premiums for everyone — and exit Medicare, where they are currently the least risky patients and help hold down costs.

“Ironically, the younger you are, the more it affects you,” said Jeff Cruz, the executive director of Latinos for a Secure Retirement and author of the report.

The report is based on the premise of the eligibility age immediately jumping to 67 in 2014, which is far sooner and more sudden than most plans for raising the age contemplate, but Cruz said the costs would eventually be the same.

The group and other opponents of raising the age, like U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., say the government could actually save far more money by allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices with manufacturers.

“We can reduce the deficit and provide greater security for seniors and for working-class Americans,” Deutch said.

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