Skip to main content

Advanced Search

Advanced Search

Current Filters

Filter your query

Publication Types



Newsletter Article


Bill Would Eliminate Medicare Waiting Period for People with Disabilities

JUNE 10, 2005 -- Sens. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., and Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, have introduced legislation that would phase out the two-year period that disabled people currently must wait before they receive Medicare benefits.

In 1972, Congress expanded Medicare from a health care program for older Americans to one that also covers individuals with significant disabilities. At that time, it built in a 24-month waiting period during which disabled persons can receive Social Security Disability Insurance but not health benefits through Medicare.

Bingaman and DeWine's legislation eliminated the 24-month waiting period, phasing it out over 10 years. As it is phased out, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would be able to waive the waiting period for people with life-threatening illness, the lawmakers said in a news release.

"Of the estimated 400,000 uninsured disabled Americans in the waiting period at any given time, 16,000 of them will die awaiting Medicare coverage. Why are we denying Medicare coverage to those who need it most? It just doesn't make sense," Bingaman said.

Publication Details