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Healthcare ‘age tax’ will hit older consumers the hardest

March 17, 2017

We all feel the pinch of rising health care costs, and now Congress is considering legislation that would allow insurance companies to tack on an extra "age tax" that would hit older consumers the hardest.

The bill in Congress would fall hardest on consumers age 50 to 64, who are still too young for Medicare. The "State Age Rating Flexibility Act of 2017" would allow insurers to charge them five times more for coverage than they charge younger adults for the same policies. (Current law already allows health insurers to charge older adults up to three times what they charge other people.)

But AARP sponsored research suggests that older adults in need of individual policies would face steep increases, averaging more than $3,000 extra per year for the average 60 year-old.

Instead of imposing an age tax on older consumers to increase profits for insurance companies, AARP believes our nation should find ways to reduce costs that Americans of all ages must pay for their health care. Rather than target people for higher premiums based on their age, we should work harder for policies that benefit everyone, including lower prices for prescription drugs, better coordination of care, and elimination of waste, fraud and abuse that add costs for everyone.

Making it even harder for older Americans to pay for health care cannot be the answer.

Kimberly Iapalucci
Associate State Director for Communication
AARP Delaware
Wilmington

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