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Baby Boomers Confused About Medicare, According to Recent NAIC Survey
Date:2/26/2008

What Retirees Need to Know About Medicare, Health Insurance Options

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Feb. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The first waves of baby boomers turn 62 this year and begin claiming Social Security benefits. And, according to new research from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), many are confused about their post-retirement health insurance options, including their Medicare eligibility.

The NAIC's national survey of 377 baby boomers -- Americans born between 1946 and 1964 -- found that only 36 percent correctly knew that Medicare eligibility begins at age 65. Twenty-one percent thought Medicare coverage began at age 62; 9 percent said age 67; 6 percent said age 59 1/2; and 28 percent said they were unsure of the age.
The NAIC survey also found:

-- A large majority of baby boomers -- 84 percent -- said that access to

health insurance was important when choosing a retirement date.

-- However, only 43 percent said that Medicare eligibility was an

important factor in determining when they would retire.

-- But nearly half -- 48 percent -- said they expected to use Medicare to

cover their healthcare needs during retirement. This number increased

to 57 percent among older baby boomers, those 55-62 years of age.

The NAIC survey also revealed a considerable lack of familiarity with Medicare's coverage options. Sixty-six percent of respondents said they were "not very familiar" or "not at all familiar" with options such as Medicare Part B, Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare prescription drug coverage and Medicare supplement (Medigap) insurance. This number jumped to 72 percent among younger baby boomers, those 44-54 years of age.

A high level of concern about Medicare's viability also added to the confusion. Eighty-two percent of those surveyed said they were concerned that future funding for Medicare might not be sufficient to provide the
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SOURCE National Association of Insurance Commissioners
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