News Release

Lowering the Age of Medicare Eligibility to 60 Could Reduce the Cost of Health Care and Have a Modest Effect on the Number of People Who Are Uninsured

A new KFF analysis shows that lowering the age of Medicare eligibility to 60 could improve the affordability of coverage for people who are already insured and expand coverage to over a million of the nation’s 30 million uninsured.

Such a policy could provide a path to Medicare coverage for up to 11.7 million people with employer-based insurance and 2.4 million with private, non-group coverage who are ages 60 to 64, although it is unclear how many would take up such coverage. Another 1.6 million people age 60-64 are uninsured and would be eligible for Medicare coverage under such a policy.

Lowering the age of Medicare eligibility could shift the cost of coverage largely from employers to the federal government and lower the cost of coverage for newly eligible people while increasing federal spending.

President Biden proposed lowering the age of Medicare eligibility to 60 during the presidential campaign and reiterated his support recently. Proposals to lower the age of Medicare, either to 60 or a younger age, may be considered by Congress.

The ultimate effect on coverage, access, and affordability of such a plan would depend on decisions individuals make and how the program is designed, including what type of premium and cost sharing assistance it provides to newly-eligible adults.

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The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.