Health costs a major concern for adults nearing Medicare eligibility
Jan. 03--Nearly half of adults within 15 years of retirement have “little or no confidence” they’ll be able to afford the cost of health insurance when they retire, according to a new survey.
Another 27 percent said they didn’t know if they would be able to afford insurance in the coming year and 13 percent said they skipped medical care because it was too expensive. The national poll of 1,024 people aged 50 to 64 was conducted by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and sponsored by AARP and Michigan Medicine, the university’s academic medical center.
The rising cost of health care is a major financial stressor regardless of age, but one that has hit Baby Boomers especially hard, as the Inquirer reported in May. The share of health expenses paid by patients, as opposed to their insurance plan, is rising at a time when age-related medical expenses are starting to add up for Baby Boomers. Not yet eligible for retirement, some tap into precious retirement savings to cover those immediate health needs and delay retirement to hold onto generous employer-sponsored health plans.
“This survey validates that health care coverage is a top concern of older Americans,” says Alison Bryant, senior vice president of research for AARP, in a statement. “The uninsured rate among the 50- to 64-year-old age group dropped 47 percent since implementation of the ACA, but we have to continue to improve access and affordability of health coverage for all older adults.”
Some other takeaways from the report:
14 percent kept a job specifically for the health insurance11 percent delayed or considered delaying retirement to hold onto an employer-sponsored plan11 percent said they considered going without health insurance in 2019, though only 5 percent had decided to drop insurance at the time of the poll.15 percent of people who changed plans in 2019 said they were postponing medical procedures until their new plan took effect.8 percent of survey respondents in their 60s said they were delaying medical procedures until they enrolled in Medicare. The survey was conducted online in October 2018. About two-thirds had employer-sponsored health insurance; 22 percent had government-sponsored health coverage, such as Medicaid, Medicare or military coverage; 8 percent bought individual health plans; and 4 percent were uninsured.