U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., has co-introduced the Medicare at 55 Act, which would provide an option for people between the ages of 55 and 64 to buy into Medicare.
There are 41 million Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 — and millions of them are burdened by high insurance premiums — unaffordable deductibles and limited options, according to a statement from Baldwin's office.
“Wisconsinites have sent a clear message to Washington that they want us to work across party lines to make health care more affordable, not more costly,” Baldwin said. “Our legislation offers a choice for millions of older Americans to buy more affordable, quality health care coverage."
She added, "For people between the ages of 55 and 64, this is a high-quality option that can help reduce health insurance costs and increase competition.”
The legislation was co-introduced with seven other senators, including Democrats Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
Stabenow said, “Our legislation is one way we can work together on a bipartisan basis to lower health care and prescription drug costs.”
Brown added, “Giving people more quality choices at reasonable prices is something we can all agree on — that’s what letting Ohioans buy into Medicare is all about. This is a simple solution for folks who are 55 and can’t get healthcare through work, or those who are ready to retire but aren’t yet eligible for Medicare.”
The average person in the 55-64 age group pays more than $1,200 in annual out-of-pocket costs and is at a greater risk of suffering from chronic conditions such as diabetes or arthritis and medical emergencies such as heart attack and stroke.
Under the Medicare at 55 Act, an individual between the ages of 55 and 64 who buys into Medicare would receive the same benefits and protections as an individual enrolled under Medicare parts A, B, and D.
Democrats Sheldon Whitehouse, Patrick Leahy, Jeff Merkley, Jack Reed and Al Franken also are co-sponsors on the bill.