TALLAHASSEE (CBS4)- An increase in the Medicare age would cost Florida and its residents $789 million a year, according to a report issued Thursday by Latinos for a Secure Retirement.

The group said many of the increased costs come from having workers between the ages of 65 to 66 enter the private market — where they would be the riskiest patients and drive up premiums for everyone — and exit Medicare, where they are currently the least risky patients and help hold down costs, the News Service of Florida reported.

“Ironically, the younger you are, the more it affects you,” said Jeff Cruz, the executive director of Latinos for a Secure Retirement and author of the report.

The report is based on the premise of the eligibility age immediately jumping to 67 in 2014, which is far sooner and more sudden than most plans for raising the age contemplate, but Cruz said the costs would eventually be the same.

The group and other opponents of raising the age, like U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., said the government could actually save far more money by allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices with manufacturers.

“We can reduce the deficit and provide greater security for seniors and for working-class Americans,” Deutch said.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed material for this report)


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