29-year-olds may pay $331,200 for Medicare

Aug. 31, 2012 at 9:51 PM
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BOSTON, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Today's 29-year-olds may have to pay $331,200 for healthcare when they retire if the Romney-Ryan Medicare plan is approved, a U.S. critic of the plan says.

David Cutler, an economist at Harvard University and the Center for American Progress, said the Romney-Ryan Medicare plan -- proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, Republican nominee for vice president, and endorsed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for president -- is designed to contain Medicare costs for the government.

The plan provides retirees with vouchers to buy private healthcare insurance and since the vouchers don't keep pace with rising healthcare costs, seniors would have to make up the difference out of pocket, Cutler said.

Cutler, one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act, analyzed the impact of the Romney-Ryan plan on current and future seniors using data from the Congressional Budget Office and other government agencies.

Romney and Ryan said no one age 55 or older would be affected by their plan to replace Medicare with vouchers, but the study found repealing the Affordable Care Act would raise healthcare costs for those currently under Medicare at age 65 by $11,000 for the average person, Cutler said.

The Affordable Care Act lowered prescription drug costs, provided one free doctor's appointment each year and provided for free mammograms, colonoscopies and other screenings. Since these cost savings for seniors have already gone into effect, repealing healthcare reform would cost seniors immediately, Cutler said.

In today's dollars, those currently age 39 who would retire at age 67 in 2040 should expect to pay $216,600 out of pocket to pay for healthcare expenses during their entire retirement, those age 48 who qualify for Medicare in 2030 would be expected to pay $124,600 in Medicare costs over their retirement, and those age 54 who would retire in 2023 would pay $59,500, the study said.

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