As the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) kicks off today, the majority of Medicare-eligible Americans are reviewing their Medicare options for the 2022 plan year, according to a HealthInsurance.com national survey of 1,000 Americans ages 65 and up.
The survey asked about AEP - also known as Medicare Open Enrollment - as well as perceptions of current Medicare plans and coverage, medical costs, technology, social media and retirement.
ANNUAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD (AEP)
The survey revealed that 63% review their Medicare coverage on an annual basis. And 33% of those surveyed think there is a better Medicare plan than the one they are currently enrolled in, which may be why 22% intend to make a change to their current Medicare plan during AEP. Additionally, 42% of those changing their plans during AEP intend to increase their coverage, while an additional 42% are wanting plans with lower costs.
In terms of plan type, our survey found that 33% are considering switching from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage; 33% are considering changing from one Medicare Advantage plan to another; and 20% are considering changing their prescription plan.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT MEDICARE PLAN
Though choosing the right Medicare plan is an important decision, 59% still find it overwhelming or confusing to pick the best Medicare plan for their needs. In fact, 41% say understanding benefits is the most challenging part of finding the right Medicare plan.
Our HealthInsurance.com Medicare survey also gauged what's most important when it comes to choosing the Medicare plan. 34% said selecting a Medicare plan that accepts their doctors is most important, followed by plans with low premiums and copays (25%) or extra benefits like vision and dental (25%).
SHOPPING FOR THE RIGHT MEDICARE PLAN
62% shop for Medicare plans online, which aligns with the 58% that do the majority of their research online to help understand their Medicare options.
Meanwhile, 37% contact their insurance agents to help them understand their Medicare options. And 22% turn to their family members or friends to help them navigate their Medicare plan options.
SOCIAL SILVER "TECHIES"
Older Americans have embraced technology since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. From binge-watching to health tech, 48% have used telemedicine at least once, while 21% use a wearable device such as an Apple Watch or Fitbit to monitor their health.
A majority of those 65+ are also hitting the "like button:" 79% use social media with 25% admitting their usage has increased during the pandemic. Facebook remains the top social media platform for our respondents (67%), but this percentage is slightly lower than a previous HealthInsurance.com survey.
Notably, Instagram (17%) and Tik Tok (7% ) are gaining popularity with the 65+ demographic. But Twitter (16%) has slid to third place, with Instagram now taking the number two spot, according to our surveys.
HEALTHCARE COST CONCERNS IN RETIREMENT
According to our survey, 85% of our respondents are retired, but 63% feel financially comfortable in their retirement. And 41% report having money set aside for their family to use for their healthcare needs.
Of those on Medicare, 89% think prescription drug prices are too high, 64% are worried about out-of-pocket medical costs, and 39% admit to not filling a prescription because it was too expensive. So it's no surprise that 84% of our Medicare-eligible survey respondents are taking advantage of "senior discounts" to help curb healthcare costs.
Accessibility emerged as a theme for this survey, too: 68% said that hearing aids should be sold over the counter, and 44% said they have or know someone who has avoided getting a hearing aid because of the cost.
The national survey of 1,000 Adults 65 or older was conducted by Scott Rasmussen on behalf of HealthInsurance.com using a mixed mode approach from September 13-16, 2021. Field work for the survey was conducted by RMG Research, Inc. Most respondents were contacted online or via text while 102 were contacted using automated phone polling techniques. Online respondents were selected from a list of Registered Voters and through a process of Random Digital Engagement. Certain quotas were applied, and the sample was lightly weighted by geography, gender, race, education, and political party to reasonably reflect the 65+ population. Margin of Sampling Error: +/- 3.1 percentage points (for full sample)
HealthInsurance.com combines the nation's leading health insurance carriers and advanced technology to offer a suite of private insurance solutions and Medicare plan options. In just a few clicks, our website provides consumers the ability to access powerful online comparison tools and educational resources that enable efficient self-guided navigation of available health insurance and Medicare options. For more information, visit HealthInsurance.com.