WASHINGTON (AP) - As the first baby boomers become old enough to qualify for Medicare on Saturday, many are getting nervous.
A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds that 43 percent of baby boomers don't believe the health insurance plan will be there throughout their retirement. Twenty percent think Medicare is secure, while the rest have mixed feelings.
Here's the math behind the concern: more than 70 million were born during the baby boom between 1946 and 1964. When the last of the boomers reaches 65, in about 20 years, Medicare will be covering more than 80 million people.
At the same time, the ratio of workers paying taxes to support the program will have plunged from 3.5 for each person receiving benefits currently, to 2.3.
If forced to choose between raising the qualifying age or cutting benefits, 59 percent of those surveyed said raise the age and keep the benefits.