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Stethoscope and dollars A base buy-in program would raise premiums and out-of-pocket costs for younger members of these plans since some over-50 members would no longer be contributing to that insurance pool. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Expanding access to Medicare through proposed “Medicare buy-in” legislation would have only a modest effect on costs and coverage in the United States, a new study by the Urban Institute finds. Still, the programs, which would allow Americans under 65 to buy Medicare plans, would allow approximately 1.5 million to 2.5 million more people to be insured under Medicare, and would result in slight spending decreases because Medicare reimbursements are set lower than commercial insurance options.

The new study looks in detail at legislative proposals that have gained attention in recent years. The overall goal of these plans is to make Medicare available to those in the 50-64 age group, some of whom are uninsured or underinsured due to affordability issues with insurance plans currently in the market.

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