Medicare less effective for younger disabled than for older population

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Besides the millions of older recipients on Medicare, more than 8 million younger disabled individuals receive benefits. But a new report finds that the system doesn't work as well for the younger beneficiaries.

Three times as many younger beneficiaries have difficulty finding a doctor who accepts Medicare compared with 6% of the overall Medicare population. Roughly half of younger beneficiaries reported difficulty with costs, particularly premiums and cost-sharing requirements, compared with just 20% of older beneficiaries, according to the report. Institutionalized beneficiaries and those with end-stage renal disease were excluded from the survey.

A 29-month waiting period between the time they apply for Social Security Disability Insurance and before they become eligible for Medicare also presents a problem for the younger group. Many reported having been uninsured at some point during that time. Younger disabled individuals comprise roughly 17% of the Medicare population. The report, “Medicare Doesn't Work As Well For Younger, Disabled Beneficiaries As It Does For Older Enrollees,” was published online in the Aug 12 edition of Health Affairs.