Majority of Baby Boomers Under 65 Will Be Covered by Healthcare Reform

Approximately 8.2 million of the 8.6 million uninsured baby boomers (Americans between the ages of 50 and 64) will have access to healthcare coverage in 2014, thanks to the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  This is just one finding of a new study by the Commonwealth Fund, entitled Realizing Health Reform’s Potential:  Adults Ages 50 – 64 and the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

According to the study, 3.5 million insured boomers will be eligible for subsidized private insurance; another 3.3 million will qualify for Medicaid; and 1.4 million will be able to access non-subsidized private insurance.  Those without coverage will include approximately 377,000 undocumented immigrants.

Unemployment drives much of the baby boomers’ need for healthcare coverage.  The Commonwealth Fund study notes that “Losses in coverage in the 50 – to — 64 age group have been driven by record high unemployment.  Approximately 2.2 million workers aged 55 and older were unemployed in November 2010.  Unemployed workers between the ages of 55 and 64 had been jobless for an average of 45 weeks, the highest unemployment duration for any group under age 65 in this time period.  As a result, the number of uninsured people in this age group climbed in 2010 as options for affordable healthcare dwindled and family budgets became more constrained.”

The Commonwealth Fund said early provisions in the health reform law that could benefit baby boomers  also include the following:

  • Create high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions
  • Impose a ban on lifetime coverage limits and gradually eliminate annual limits
  • Cover preventive services
  • Create an early retiree reinsurance program
  • Create a new long-term care insurance program

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