50 Wishes for
Medicare’s Future

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Wish #28:
Eliminate the two-year Medicare waiting period for people with disabilities

In 1972, Congress granted Medicare benefits to people receiving Social Security disability benefits. This historic step forward was marred by an arbitrary limit, requiring that people with disabilities wait a full two years before gaining access to needed coverage. This provision was included merely to cut costs. Now, beneficiaries with disabilities must navigate two benefit start dates and obtain temporary coverage during this gap. Congress should eliminate this outdated, complicated, and confusing waiting period and allow people with disabilities access to Medicare at the same time they receive their disability benefits.