A Year of Medicare Consumer Insights at eHealth
eHealth’s Research & Insights program has provided fresh insights into the sentiment and consumer preferences of Medicare beneficiaries for several years. Original research published by eHealth in 2023 paints a complex portrait of today’s Medicare beneficiaries:
- They are happy with their coverage but feel elected leaders aren’t listening to their needs.
- They’re sensitive to health care costs, and inflation is a big concern.
- They are experiencing stark increases in anxiety and loss of engagement.
- They know Medicare needs reforming to make the program sustainable, but they aren’t ready to shoulder the burden themselves.
Let’s take a final look at some of eHealth’s Research & Insights reports from 2023 and examine these findings in more detail.
eHealth’s Medicare Pulse on Consumer Sentiments and Satisfaction, published in February, explored beneficiaries’ satisfaction with their Medicare coverage and their worries about premiums and out-of-pocket costs:
- Most are satisfied with Medicare coverage but still feel unheard: 88% of Medicare beneficiaries were satisfied with their coverage, but 60% said political leaders aren’t really listening to the needs of Medicare enrollees.
- Worry over out-of-pocket costs trumps premiums: More beneficiaries were worried about being able to afford their out-of-pocket costs (75%) than their monthly premiums (43%).
In our March report, The Economics of Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement Enrollment, we looked at some of the factors that drive Medicare beneficiaries to enroll in Medicare Advantage versus Medicare Supplement:
- Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement enrollees differ starkly by income: 73% of Medicare Advantage enrollees live on $50,000 or less per year, with 39% living on less than $25,000. By comparison, 50% of Medicare Supplement enrollees live on more than $50,000, with 31% living on $75,000 or more.
- Medicare Supplement is unaffordable for most Medicare Advantage enrollees: 52% of Medicare Advantage enrollees cannot afford any monthly premium at all (many plans come with $0-premiums); an additional 18% can afford no more than $25 per month.
eHealth’s June 2023 Senior Lifestyles report delved into the physical and mental health and wellness of today’s Medicare beneficiaries and seniors. Some of our findings were concerning:
- Ringing alarm bells on mental health: 42% of seniors were experiencing a loss of interest in things they used to enjoy, while 39% suffered from anxiety. These represent significant increases over March of 2022, when those figures were 21%, 24%, respectively.
In August we surveyed Medicare beneficiaries about the sustainability of the program in our Future of Medicare report. Many were concerned about the future of the program but felt the costs for fixing Medicare should be borne by future generations:
- 84% of current beneficiaries said that significant changes to Medicare will be needed in order to secure the program for future generations.
- If it ensured the sustainability of Medicare for future generations, only 12% of current beneficiaries would agree to changes in their current Medicare benefits or costs.
eHeath’s Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Consumer Insights report, published in October, examined beneficiaries’ intentions for the nationwide Annual Enrollment Period and drilled down into the factors that might make reviewing your coverage options especially important:
- Many experienced life changes this year that may suggest a new plan is in order: 47% began visiting new medical care providers in the past year; 41% began using a new prescription drug; 28% received a new medical diagnosis.
- Personal finances can also drive many to review their options: 41% say their personal financial situation has changed in the past year; 87% say they are worried about the impact of inflation on their medical costs.
For more information on any of the findings cited above, please refer to the linked reports, each of which includes details on the methodology used.
To review more of eHealth’s 2023 original research, or historic research from prior years, please visit the eHealth media center.