If you are under 65 and disabled (by Social Security's definition) you will eventually become eligible for Medicare if you live long enough. Currently, about 7 million people under the age of 65 are covered by Medicare. That number could be even larger if it did not take so long and wasn't so difficult to meet the Social Security definition of total and permanent disability.
How difficult is it to qualify for Social Security disability? Here is information direct from the Social Security website.
Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.That is much more stringent than any private disability plan.
"Disability" under Social Security is based on your inability to work. We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:
- You cannot do work that you did before;
- We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
In addition to the above, you must have been totally and permanently disabled for 5 consecutive months before you can even apply for Medicare benefits.
Evem if you qualify for SSDI, you have to wait 29 months (5 month elimination + 24 months of SSDI eligibility) before you can qualify for Medicare. There are exceptions, such as those with ESRD or ALS.
People (including children) who have not accumulated enough work credits do not qualify for SSDI which will also disqualify them from Medicare benefits.
So what does Sen. Kerry want to do to make Medicare more accessible and affordable?
His proposal outlined here is to change the law with regard to access to Medicare supplement plans and Medicare Advantage plans. Kerry-Heinz believes those who live long enough to qualify for SSDI are discriminated against by Medicare supplement carriers because of their health status. If Kerry-Heinz get's his way those on SSDI and Medicare will see the following changes.
- Medicare supplement carriers would be required to GUARANTEE ISSUE Medigap policies to those on SSDI and Medicare
- Allow those on a Medicare Advantage plan to switch back to original Medicare and a Medigap plan during open enrollment
- Allow dual-eligibles (those who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid) to buy a Medigap plan if they lose their Medicaid eligibility
- Allow those with ESRD to purchase a Medicare Advantage plan
This bubble head thinks all this comes without a cost. Not surprising given his lack of experience in the real world, other than his time as Swift boat Johnny in Viet Nam.
If Kerry-Heinz get's his way, here is what will happen.
Medicare supplement plans for disabled, under age 65 which are already priced in the $1000/month range for Medigap plan F by most carriers will become even more expensive. (There are a few Georgia Medicare supplement plans in the $200 - $300 range for under age 65 Medicare enrollee's).
Some carriers that offer Medicare Advantage plans will most likely withdraw from the market, while others will raise premiums dramatically or substantially cut benefits, especially on the $0 premium Medicare Advantage plans.
If you like your Medicare supplement plans and Advantage plans the way they are now, tell Sen. Kerry-Heinz to take a hike, or perhaps go wind surfing, and keep his mitts off Medicare.