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New study: Elderly Medicare beneficiaries most satisfied with their health insurance
Date:7/18/2012

July 18, 2012, New York, NYElderly beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare plans are more satisfied with their health insurance, have better access to care, and are less likely to have problems paying medical bills than people who get insurance through employers or those who purchase coverage on their own, according to a new Commonwealth Fund study published today in Health Affairs. The study also found that beneficiaries enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans are less satisfied with their insurance than those with a traditional Medicare plan, and more likely to experience access problems.

The study, "Medicare Beneficiaries Less Likely To Experience Cost- And Access-Related Problems Than Adults With Private Coverage," by Commonwealth Fund researchers Karen Davis, Kristof Stremikis, Michelle Doty, and Mark Zezza, finds that only 8 percent of Medicare beneficiaries rated their insurance as fair or poor, compared with 20 percent of adults with employer insurance and 33 percent who purchased insurance on their own. As the federal government weighs proposals to cut Medicare spending, the analysis, based on results from The Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey of 2010, suggests shifting Medicare beneficiaries into private plans could put the elderly at greater risk for not getting needed health care and being less satisfied with their insurance.

The study finds that Medicare beneficiaries have better access to care and greater financial protection than adults with private coverage. In 2010 about one-fourth (23%) of Medicare beneficiaries went without needed health care because of costs, compared with 37 percent of those with employer coverage. Adults with employer-based insurance (39%) and individual insurance (39 %) reported medical bill problems at almost double the rate of Medicare beneficiaries (21 %). The study finds that while health care access and medical bill problems worsened for adults with all types of coverage over
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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