Ask an Elder Care Attorney New Jersey: Medicare for All or Medicare at 50? Proposals to Expand Medicare and Medicaid
How to pay for healthcare is by far one of the biggest issues affecting individuals over the age of 50. As the country continues to debate the role of the federal government in mandating healthcare coverage for individuals, roadblocks make discussions difficult to navigate because the conversation comes to a stop when the issue of who would pay the medical bills comes up.
As people age, access to income diminishes particularly because older people stop working. Individuals in retirement or those entering retirement must seriously consider their healthcare needs and how to pay for them with a limited or fixed income. Medicare and Medicaid do not pay for all medical services.
There are many proposals, at various stages of the legislative process, out there to address the issue of who would pay the medical bill. Expanding Medicare and Medicaid healthcare coverage is one such proposal. Either universal healthcare coverage would be provided to all Americans or the eligibility of individuals currently not covered by the Affordable Health Care Act would be expanded to include more people. Both plans would cover seniors or people in retirement.
Before we examine the Medicare at 50 and Medicare for All programs, it is important to understand the current Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Medicare is a national health insurance program for Americans 65 and older. Medicare pays for medical care and treatment, including hospitalizations, nursing home care, prescription drugs, and medical supplies and equipment, among others for individuals in retirement. Typically, coverage begins at the age of 65. People pay an annual deductible and copayments for their prescription bill.
Medicaid is a joint federal and state health insurance program for individuals with low income. There is no age requirement in the Medicaid program. Each state administers its own Medicaid program. In New York, the Department of Health administers the New York Medicaid program. A firm requirement is an income ceiling. So long as an individual’s income and assets do not exceed the threshold, Medicaid would be provided to an individual with low income. The threshold amount varies by age and number of individuals in the household. Among the things Medicaid pays for are long-term health care needs and copayments for prescriptions and doctor visits.
The New York Times reports that there are at least 10 major proposals out there to expand Medicare and Medicaid health insurance coverage. Our last post examined the Medicare and Medicaid programs as they exist today. This next post will review two of the hottest proposed programs – Medicare for All and Medicare at 50.
Affordability of healthcare services affects individuals at all phases of life. Even healthy people need preventative care. Health insurance for the healthy helps pay for annual physicals, routine testing, and immunizations. Individuals with chronic conditions also need assistance paying medical bills because theirs are voluminous and expensive, no matter the income bracket.
Some individuals today who are able to retire are postponing retirement in order to maintain employer-sponsored healthcare plans because the current Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide enough protection. To address these concerns, bills are currently making their way through Congress to alleviate the financial burden of medical insurance. They are Medicare for All and Medicare at 50.
Medicare for All
Medicare for All is a set of bills before the Senate and House that would provide every American, regardless of age or financial circumstances, with government paid health insurance. This option would eliminate employer-sponsored health care insurance. The most contentious of the proposals, this option would require a complete overhaul of the healthcare insurance industry. Among the proposals on the table is expanding Medicare coverage to include vision, dental, or prescription drugs benefits — services not currently offered under the existing Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Medicare at 50
Medicare at 50 refers to Medicare and Medicaid Buy-ins proposals. Currently before the Senate, this Bill would allow individuals to purchase Medicare or Medicaid privately and benefit from cost-savings of shared premiums and costs of medical services. This proposal is trying to attract individuals age 50 and older or those who have not been able to receive healthcare insurance through the Affordable Care Act. At 65, or the age of retirement, the individual would be covered under the Medicare program.
Both the Medicare for All and Medicare and Medicaid Buy-in proposals would eliminate monthly premiums, copayments, and deductibles before coverage kicks in. There is a slight cost for prescription medications, with an annual cap of $200 in out of pocket expenses for insured people.
There is more to explore with this issue, keep an eye out for our next post about this important topic.
Find the Best New Jersey Elder Care Attorney Near You
People face complex legal concerns as they age and enter retirement. An elder care attorney can assist with disability planning, durable powers of attorney, living trusts, drafting of wills and other estate plan documents, among many other legal concerns. Talk to the Elder Care Attorney New Jersey today about health care proxies and Medicaid planning for long term medical care.
The Giro Law Firm is a New Jersey and New York law firm located in Newark, NJ that handles a wide range of legal matters that affect the elderly and disabled populations, including retirement, guardianship, health care, long term care planning, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid planning, among other legal services. To request a consultation with an Elder Care New Jersey Attorney, click here or call (201) 690-1642.