The Affordable Care Act (ACA) promises to improve access to affordable health care coverage for all older adults, especially for those with lower incomes and pre-existing conditions. This is just the opposite of what is happening to older Americans between 50 and 64. The Affordable Care Act is increasing health care costs, and access drops while planning for retirement becomes harder due to health care cost. The rising health care cost will wipe out any gains people in the middle class are projected to make. Anyone in their 50’s or 60’s is planning on retiring may have to look at other ways to save money for retirement. The out-of-pocket medical expenses will take an increasing share of retirement income, and future retirees will find it harder to maintain their standard of living when they retire.
The share of adults age 50 to 64 who are at risk for high health care spending is rising, while the share with employer-sponsored health coverage is declining. Seniors in this age bracket could spend at least 10 percent of their disposable income on health care. The individuals buying health insurance have the likelihood of high total out-of-pocket spending. As the implementation of the Affordable Care Act proceeds, and debates about how to improve our health care system continue, it will be important to look at how well the system serves people who are most at risk in our current system, including adults age 50 to 64.