March 15, 2017; AARP
For those Americans over the age of 50 who have been wondering how they’ll fare with the proposed healthcare changes, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) says the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is not going to put many minds at ease.
AARP, the premier retired persons organization with 38 million members, doesn’t sugarcoat it. Their website reads, “Proposed Health Care Law Hammers People Over 50.” Several days earlier, AARP released a statement about opposing the healthcare bill that cited, among other reasons, “Older Americans need affordable health care services and prescriptions. This plan goes in the opposite direction, increasing insurance premiums for older Americans and not doing anything to lower drug costs.”
Key highlights from the bill that could affect older Americans:
- The AHCA would impose an “age tax” that allows insurance companies to charge people between the ages of 50 and 64 (those too young for Medicare) five times what they charge younger consumers. Currently, insurers can charge older consumers only three times as much.
- The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the AHCA found that “premiums would rise 20 to 25 percent for a 64-year-old. That means premiums for a 64-year-old earning $26,500 would increase by almost $13,000 in 2026, from $1,700 to $14,600.” This increase in premiums is likely out of reach for many people.
- The CBO report shows that 14 million Americans will lose coverage next year, increasing to 24 million in 2026.
Additionally, the CBO report suggests that for the low-income near-elderly (55–64 years old), the cost reductions set forth in the plan will not be enough to offset the elimination of the Medicaid expansion and the loss of the Affordable Care Act’s cost-and-income-based premium tax credits, to name a few.
Some folks may argue that AARP, as a typically left-of-center organization, has a natural opposition to the AHCA, but the group is not alone in its analysis. Both the American