As GOP lawmakers work toward creating a just-right “repeal and replace” plan for Obamacare, some legislation being introduced has touched a nerve for AARP and older Americans.
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In a letter to the Chairman and Ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, AARP Senior Vice President Joyce Rogers lashed out against the recently introduced State Age Rating Flexibility Act of 2017, legislation that would allow insurers to charge older Americans significantly more for health insurance.
“This legislation has a simple explanation -- it would be an age tax -- charging older Americans not yet eligible for Medicare a penalty of five times what others must pay for health insurance. The term ‘age rating’ is Washington-speak for overcharging older Americans by thousands of dollars for their health care,” AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond told FOX Business.
Under the ACA, insurers can charge its oldest enrollees up to three times as much as the youngest adult enrollees. The new proposal would change the age rating ratio to 5:1 or even higher. According to a new study from AARP’s Public Policy Institute conducted by the independent actuarial firm Milliman, under this proposal, on average, adults age 60 and older would see their insurance bills go up by $3,200 — making their average annual premium a whopping $17,900.
LeaMond discussed with FOX Business what you need to know.
Boomer: What other financial burdens might Boomers face with health-care coverages, if this bill is passed?
LeaMond: Charging older Americans five times more for the same coverage just isn’t fair and AARP will fight to hold our elected officials accountable for taxing older American families with a burden they don’t deserve. Seniors already spend one out of every six dollars on healthcare—they can’t afford to spend more.
A typical senior without insurance in the individual market has a median income of only $20,000. Asking moderate and middle income older Americans to pay over $3,000 more out of pocket for insurance will put a major squeeze on other necessities. And, this group is already dealing with added expenses from the high prices of prescription drugs.
Add to that the fact that many parents pay for their children’s insurance until they turn twenty-six, a bill many are happy to foot, but that certainly adds to their financial burden.
Boomer: What is AARP doing to deter the passage of this bill?
LeaMond: This week, AARP launched a new campaign to stop the age tax that includes advertising and recess visits by AARP staff and volunteers to members of Congress in the states. AARP’s latest efforts come in addition to our continued advocacy of members of Congress and the Trump administration about the age tax.
AARP visits with members of Congress will include vocal opposition to the age tax. Our latest efforts follow letters we have sent that lay out the negative impact of the age tax. The ads also come as an addition to AARP’s Medicare campaign, which takes on “premium support,” a proposal that would harm Medicare beneficiaries by turning the successful program into a private voucher program.
We are encouraging our members to call their representatives in Congress at 844-617-2688 and urge them to oppose H.R. 708, the bill that would allow insurance companies to charge 50- to 64-year-olds thousands of dollars more for their health care. Remind Congress they should be standing up for their constituents, not insurance companies. You can also send a message to your Representative by going to the following website.