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Is Giving Early Retiring Seniors Medicaid Really a Mistake?

Is Giving Early Retiring Seniors Medicaid Really a Mistake?

The administration is reeling in the wake of news that an “error” in health care reform could accidentally let seniors who are trying to retire early have access to Medicaid – even if they have as much as $64,000 a year in household income.

The change in rules allegedly would allow as many as 3 million seniors the opportunity to use Medicaid as an insurer if they take an early retirement at age 62, a time when many of the elderly could begin to receive Social Security benefits.   Because these benefits would not be counted as income under the new rules, officially a senior couple could receive a maximum of $23,500 a year each in benefits, and an additional $17,000 in other income, and still qualify for Medicaid.  Without the change, they would make too much money to get insurance through the government until they turned 65 and are eligible for the Medicare program.

Republicans are aghast at the idea, and the administration says it is looking for “a fix.”  But what if this isn’t really a problem, but instead an opportunity to turn the economy around?

The biggest issue facing the country is the massive unemployment rate, part of which is being fed off of the fact that baby boomers who are near retirement just simply aren’t retiring and opening up jobs for other people to fill.  And one of the biggest reasons that they aren’t retiring is because their employer is how they get health care, and until Medicare kicks in it is simply unaffordable to purchase their own insurance.  For an elderly couple, regardless of health or prior conditions, individual insurance could be an enormous part of the monthly spending — unfeasible on an smaller fixed income.

Now, if we created a way for those people to get cheaper, much more manageable health insurance if they take an early retirement, suddenly jobs are open and the unemployed can get back into the market, allowing pumping more spending into the economy and continuing the cycle of more hiring.

Doesn’t letting the elderly have basic affordable health care so they can retire early make at least as much sense as an economic engine as continuing to maintain massive tax breaks for the rich?  Why correct this “error?”  Call it the new economic plan!

Photo credit: photo from wikimedia commons

 

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134 comments

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7:25AM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

A lot of the income levels for Medicaid are defined by state laws, since Medicaid is administered state wide. In NYS you can get what is called "Spend-down" where your living expenses per month are calculated and if housing, food and utilities take up a huge percentage you can qualify for Medicaid. Both my brothers who were handicapped did this (Their SSD was over the limit). However Medicaid sucks big which is why I, a 67 year old senior want no part of it. I have complex health problems neurological and most of the specialists who would treat me (and do) don't take Medicaid. In fact they don’t take cheap Medicare supplemental programs. So I continue to spend $96 per month for Medicare and almost $300 per month for AARP US Health and co-payments for drugs (which will all go up next year). As long as we have medical coverage for profit nothing will change. "Access to medical" does not mean access to decent medical care. Both my brothers are dead no (59 & 60 years old) because serious medical conditions were ignored until one died from ulcers and the other from a heart problem that was evident for over two years before noticed. I started out at the age of 19 married and pregnant going to clinics and I just refuse to go back to that horror (these clinics have not changed). Every day I consider just dropping my supplemental or stopping my medicine. I made it to middle class and now I am poor just not poor enough to receive medical unless I want to go through

7:10AM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

I forgot-I applied when I was 66 years old. the income counts my SS of $633.

7:02AM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

Are you sure that you mean Medicaid-instead of medicare? I get less than 11,000 a year and make 50 cents a month too much for medicaid-which is supposed to be for poor people of any age.

6:05PM PDT on Sep 21, 2011

thanks

10:55PM PDT on Aug 1, 2011

My opinion is that if a person can retire at age 62 and collect social security, then they should also be eligable to be a part of the Medicare program. Automatic payments are taken from their Social Security.
At that time they also buy supplement insurance to help cover whatever Medicare does not cover.

And Yes I agree with, if more people retired at age 65, that would open up some employment for others.

So What's The Problem?

4:40AM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

Medicaid is for the poor. Medicare is for those 65 and over. It would make sense to allow those 62 through 64 to buy into Medicare if they also apply for reduced Social Security benefits and stop working. Those living in poverty should already be eligible for Medicaid regardless of age.

4:30AM PDT on Jun 28, 2011

In 2008 I read an excellent proposal by a reader in Florida to his local newspaper concerning the $800 billion TARP bailout of Wall Street.
The reader proposed that every working American aged 55 and over be given $1 million dollars with some pre-conditions. 1.) They had to retire, thus opening up the job market and reducing unemployment. 2.) They had to buy a new American car, saving the auto industry without loans. 3.) They had to refinance their home, or purchase a different one, or a second one, eliminating the bank bailout due to the collapse of the sub-prime market.
The math wound up costing less than the $800 billion. The money still went where it was given, except that it went through the electorate on its way there. Every American was helped. Those younger that 55 got jobs out of the deal, and all had money to spend to boost the economy. The fact that this didn't happen shows that the agenda actually includes the decimation of the middle class.

3:42PM PDT on Jun 27, 2011

Why must we punish people who have to retired early by not allowing them collect any money they may need to survive on? hey certainly deserve to live.

11:56AM PDT on Jun 27, 2011

Glenna you may be forced to consider divorce as a way to be able to retire! Try to collect unemployment in the meantime - you earned it! Sad but this is what life in the US has become for older people.

11:00AM PDT on Jun 27, 2011

Republicans have and are destroying the economy, they only care about the rich and big corporations. They have set things up during the Bush era to make sure anyone over 65 is ok, anyone under that can go to hell.

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