Mitt Romney Turns 65, Opts Out of Medicare, Social Security

Mitt Romney, GOP presidential hopeful, turned 65 on March 12 but has no plans to enroll in Medicare. Instead, the Republican front-runner will continue coverage through his private health-care plan.

Wealthier individuals, according to Mr. Romney’s campaign website, should pay more for government Medicare benefits, while lower-income seniors would receive more generous support. His plan would include a “premium support” contribution, allowing beneficiaries a choice between private plans and Medicare.

Social Security is another government benefit that the former Massachusetts is passing up. In response to Fox News host Neil Cavuto’s question if he was planning to sign up for Social Security on this, his eligible birthday, Mr. Romney emphatically declined. Citing the fact that retirement is far off, he stated, “I have no plans to retire at the current moment. I’m not going to be doing that anytime soon. I’m still very much in the work force, I hope.”

For both Medicare and Social Security eligibility, Mr. Romney proposes to “gradually raise the retirement age to reflect increases in longevity.” Beginning in 2022, the proposal would incrementally raise the eligibility age for both programs from 65 to 67 by one month per year.

How would the change affect beneficiaries today?

AARP Research & Strategic Analysis recently released Social Security State Quick Fact Sheets comprised of recently released 2010 data. In its findings, AARP shows that in 2009, more that one-third of the elderly population would be living in poverty if they did not receive Social Security benefits. Even in states where personal income is high, Social Security is the only income for a segment of the population.

How do you feel about delaying Social Security and Medicare benefits? While admirable from a personal (and political) standpoint, do you think Mr. Romney’s decisions and options are viable for the country at large? For information on your state’s services and resources, check your own individual Senior Services by State.

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