The survey results show a majority of Medicare recipients worry about the cost of healthcare. Nearly six in 10 (58%) shared concerns about their ability to pay for future healthcare, and half (50%) said a major health situation in their household could lead to bankruptcy or debt.
Nearly six in 10 of respondents said they are somewhat or very concerned about their ability to afford healthcare in the future. When asked to rank healthcare expenses from highest to lowest, respondents cited health insurance premiums (33%), dentist bills (19%) and prescription drugs (16%) as their highest expenses.
Medicare beneficiaries 65 and up also worry healthcare costs could lead to bankruptcy or debt. One in three (35%) noted they were somewhat concerned and just over one in seven (15%) were very concerned that a major health situation in their household could lead to bankruptcy or debt.
“This survey data reveals that a majority of Medicare beneficiaries worry about personal finances as it relates to healthcare and their future,” said Jeff Smedsrud, co-founder of HealthCare.com and head of its coverage business.
A majority of Medicare recipients 65 and older would turn to savings or their credit cards to pay for treatment of a severe illness like COVID-19.
Just under one-third (32%) of respondents said they would use retirement savings to pay for treatment, and one-fifth (21%) would use their nonretirement savings.
Nearly a third (32%) of Medicare enrollees 65 plus reported receiving a surprise medical bill in the last two years (since October 2018). Among those who received surprise medical bills, nearly three out of five (59.5%) said the total amount exceeded $500.
One in four (25%) Medicare recipients 65 or over had difficulty settling a healthcare-related bill in the last year (since October 2019). Among those who have had such issues in the past year, topping the list of costs were prescription drugs (59%), health insurance out-of-pocket costs (36%) and health insurance monthly premiums (28%).
Finally, when asked which political party they think would better protect Medicare for the future, over half (51%) of respondents answered the Democratic Party, four in 10 (40%) the Republican Party, and 2% independents.
“There are many factors and unanswered questions, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the upcoming election, that stoke this specific anxiety for older Americans, especially when it comes to personal debt and their future healthcare costs,” noted Smedsrud.
MedicareGuide.com commissioned YouGov Plc to conduct the survey. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The total sample size was 1,126 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken on October 5-8, 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 65+). The margin of error is 2.8%, plus or minus.
MedicareGuide.com, owned and operated by HealthCare.com, is a free resource for seniors to understand their Medicare options better so that they can make the right choices. MedicareGuide.com is a privately-owned non-governmental website that provides accurate, unbiased, and helpful content with the help of the company’s network of Medicare experts. The management team is comprised of health insurance industry veterans who have more than 50 years of combined experience.