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The Political Climate Impact on Medicare in 2021

An older woman sits at her kitchen table while reading about Medicare expansion on her laptop

Since Medicare’s inception in 1965, U.S. Congress has made various changes to who qualifies for Medicare and its coverage. With a new administration, you may be wondering how and if Medicare will be affected. Learn more about the impact of the political climate on Medicare in 2021 in the article below. 

What is Medicare expansion and its current status?

The most recent proposals to adjust Medicare include expanding its coverage to dental, vision, and hearing, as well as lowering its eligibility to 60 from 65. Expansion of Medicare has been introduced in Democratic House bills, as well as in the most recent budget plan released by Senate Democrats. It is unclear whether the Medicare expansion portion of the budget plan will make it through the full congressional process. 

Will there be an expansion of Medicare benefits and coverage?

In the $3.5 billion budget plan released in August 2021 by Senate Democrats, Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) would cover dental, vision, and hearing, and the age when people can sign up for Medicare would be lowered. This expansion of Medicare coverage would fill major gaps in Medicare coverage that can often only be covered through a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan. 

While there are no clear details about the expansion of Medicare in the budget plan, a House bill that was introduced in July 2021 included expanding Medicare to cover things such as preventative and emergency dental care, refractive eye exams and eyeglasses, and hearing aids and exams. 

Since the Medicare expansion proposal may not make it through the entire legislative process, it’s important to know your current Medicare coverage options. While Original Medicare only covers 80% of your healthcare needs, your gaps in coverage can often be filled by switching to a Medicare Advantage plan or adding a Medicare Supplement plan to your breadth of coverage. At SelectQuote, we’ll compare all of your options to make sure you have the coverage you need and can access all of the benefits available to you.

Potential Impact of Proposed Changes to Medicare 2021 

While the expansion of Medicare coverage can be appealing to beneficiaries, there are potential negative impacts that have been voiced by opposing politicians, including:

  • Healthcare providers can be negatively impacted as Medicare pays significantly less than private insurers. 
  • Lowering the eligibility to age 60 can affect beneficiaries in the workforce. Savings for employers and wage increases for workers could be less than an employers’ healthcare costs, and workers or employers may have to get supplemental insurance. 
  • While the number of uninsured individuals would decrease, premiums for those with private insurance would increase. 

Let SelectQuote Navigate Medicare Plans for You

It can be difficult to keep up with what is going on in Washington, and it can also be difficult to determine if you have the right Medicare coverage for you. Regardless of any potential changes to Medicare, SelectQuote is here to make sure you have the coverage you need at a price that works for your budget. 

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