Uninsured adults cost Medicare, researchers find

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Medicare may want to consider lowering the age of program eligibility because of the financial toll uninsured older adults place on the system, a new study suggests.

Medicare pays more for uninsured adults with common chronic illnesses when they become eligible for Medicare compared to those who are insured when they reach Medicare age, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Decreasing the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 could actually lower overall spending on chronic care, researchers said.

Previously uninsured adults use health services more intensively and require costlier care as Medicare beneficiaries than those who had been previously insured, researchers said.