From strengthening the Affordable Care Act to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, President-elect Joe Biden will have plenty of health care-related items on his plate when he moves into the White House in January. Part of Biden’s campaign pledge to improve health care coverage included lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60, but his ability to enact any kind of sweeping health care reform will be severely limited by a likely divided Congress. When it comes to Medicare, industry observers suggest regulatory changes to strengthen the program and better protect beneficiaries are more likely under a Biden administration.
If Biden were to succeed with his Medicare-at-60 plan, “it would probably be a very big boon for Medicare Advantage,” given that a younger aging population might not use as many services as an older population and since MA is now a popular alternative to traditional Medicare, observes Stephanie Kennan, a member of McGuireWoods Consulting’s federal public affairs group and former senior health policy adviser to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). Passing such a change, however, depends on several key factors, says Kennan.