Medicare Coverage Starting at Age 50 Could Save Costs Over Long Run
Americans are living longer, so why not lower the eligibility age for Medicare? That prescription might sound upside down: rising longevity often is used as an argument for delaying Medicare eligibility past age 65. However, one of the country’s top experts on geriatric medicine actually thinks Medicare should start covering preventive health care when we turn 50. Dr. Linda Fried, dean of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York, says that could help people not just live longer, but enjoy more healthy years. Meanwhile, Medicare would save money on treatment of chronic illnesses in seniors. Much of Fried’s research is focused on promotion of healthy aging, and the latest evidence shows people who get to age 60 in relatively good health are likely to stay healthy. “The investment would be worth it,” she says. “It won’t cost Medicare or the country more money, but having people living not just longer but healthier is essential to being able to experience the benefits of longer lives.”
David Wingate is an elder law attorney, who practices in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland. The elder law practice consists of wills, powers of attorney, living wills, trusts, asset protection and Medicaid.