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

the past decade, Medicare continued to provide better coverage during that time period.

"Medicare continues to do better than employer-sponsored and individual plans when it comes to providing people with good access to health care and adequate protection from burdensome medical bills," said Stremikis, senior researcher at The Commonwealth Fund. "Policies designed to move the elderly out of Medicare and into private plans need to be carefully designed, so as not to expose beneficiaries to the poorer access to care currently experienced by many working-age adults with private insurance."

The study found that those with individual and employer-based coverage were far more likely than Medicare beneficiaries to incur high out-of-pocket costs. Twenty-nine percent of elderly adults with Medicare reported spending 10 percent or more of their income on medical costs, compared to 37 percent of adults with employer-based insurance and 58 percent with individual insurance. Only 13 percent of Medicare beneficiaries were unable to pay for basic necessities such as food or rent or used up all their savings to cover medical bills, compared to 27 percent of adults with employer-based insurance and 33 percent with individual insurance.

Medicare Advantage vs. Traditional Medicare

Within Medicare, satisfaction rates differed depending on whether beneficiaries were enrolled in traditional Medicare plans or in Medicare Advantage plans offered by private insurance companies. Fifteen percent of elderly people with Medicare Advantage rated their insurance as fair or poor, compared with just six percent of those with traditional Medicare coverage.

The study also found that although Medicare Advantage enrollees were less likely to spend 10 percent or more of their income on premiums and out-of-pocket costs, they were more likely to report cost-related access problems than elderly adults with traditional Medicare. Thirty-two percent of b
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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