Medicare milestone: Chief is eligible for program

September 9, 2011 - 12:55 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Officials say Medicare has reached a new milestone: for the first time, it's headed by someone old enough to receive benefits.

Administrator Don Berwick turned 65 on Friday, and he says he's begun applying for his Medicare card, sending for a notarized copy of his birth certificate.

Medicare is different these days, said Berwick, more focused on keeping seniors healthy into their 80s. Many new enrollees are in better shape than their parents were when they joined.

Though Berwick will be one of the 2.8 million baby boomers joining this year, he said he wants to keep working as long as he can. That means Medicare will be secondary to his job-based insurance. It might get the attention of those looking to raise the eligibility age to cut costs.