Baby Boomers Likely To See Major Benefits From Reform Law, Study Finds
U.S. residents between ages 50 and 64 stand to benefit greatly from the federal health reform law, according to a study by the Commonwealth Fund, CQ HealthBeat reports.
Challenges for Baby Boomers
According to the study, baby boomers have the highest rates of unemployment among working-age residents, increasingly are losing their health coverage and face numerous chronic health problems.
In addition, baby boomers' health statuses oftentimes make it harder to obtain new insurance when they lose employer-sponsored coverage, leaving them uncovered until they quality for Medicare at age 65.
The study found that about 8.6 million baby boomers did not have insurance in 2009, a 1.1 million increase from 2008. In addition, 9.7 million other residents in that age group had such high out-of-pocket costs that they are considered underinsured, according to the study.
The Commonwealth Fund noted that early provisions in the health reform law that could benefit baby boomers include:
- The creation of high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions;
- A ban on lifetime coverage limits and the gradual elimination of annual limits;
- Coverage of preventive services;
- The creation of an early retiree reinsurance program; and
- A new long-term care insurance program.
Under the overhaul, Medicaid in 2014 is slated to expand to include all adults with incomes less than 133% of the federal poverty level (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 12/14).
The study estimated that at least 8.2 million of the 8.6 million baby boomers without insurance in 2009 would be covered by the expansion (Barr, Modern Healthcare, 12/14).
Separate Study Forecasts Part B Increases for Medicare Beneficiaries
In related news, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found that the number of Medicare beneficiaries who must pay higher premiums for the program's Part B outpatient services will increase to 14% in 2019, compared with 5% in 2011, CQ HealthBeat reports.
The increase is the result of a health reform provision that will base beneficiaries' premiums on their incomes (Adams, CQ HealthBeat, 12/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.