A Medicare Buy-In for the Near Elderly: Design Issues and Potential Effects on Coverage

This report examines a Medicare-based approach to reducing the ranks of the uninsured that would permit early retirees between the ages of 62 and 65 to purchase coverage under Medicare. The paper begins with an overview of the challenges of insuring the near-elderly and explores the potential effects of a Medicare buy-in on coverage of this population. The authors conclude that, unless premiums for such coverage were low or tied to enrollees’ income, this approach would have a relatively small impact on both the number of uninsured near-elderly and retirement decisions.