Boomers Turn 65 in January, Threaten to Bankrupt Medicare

The baby boomer generation, which starts turning 65 on Jan. 1, threatens to bankrupt the Medicare program, according to a report by the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune.

As more boomers enter the program, Medicare spending will increase 5.8 percent a year, reaching $929 billion by 2020. When the last of the boomers turns 65 in 2030, the Medicare population will have nearly doubled from 47 million to 80 million.

The combination of more beneficiaries and medical inflation will be disastrous unless the system can be overhauled, an expert at the Commonwealth Fund said. Policymakers will have to figure out how to provide healthcare more efficiently.

Keeping boomers' Medicare costs low should involve improving their healthcare before they qualify for Medicare, said an expert at National Institute on Aging. Most Americans ages 50-64 experience more than one chronic illness, such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. They need expert care because treating one condition could harmfully affect another.

Read the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune report on the baby boomer generation and Medicare costs.

Read more coverage of Medicare costs:

- 62% of Medicare Stroke Patients Die or Are Readmitted Within a Year

- California Medical Association Launches Campaign Against Medicare Cuts

- Study Examining Cost of Poorly Coordinated Care Could Help ACOs

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