Medicare Advantage Beneficiaries Report High Satisfaction, Yet Face Financial Challenges
A Closer Look at the Financial Hurdles Impacting Medicare Advantage Enrollees
By: Catie Hillard
March 29, 2023 – Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are pleased with their coverage, but a recent study reveals that they continue to face financial barriers when accessing care. The report, released by eHealth, Inc., highlights the satisfaction levels and economic challenges faced by individuals enrolled in Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans.
According to the study, 86 percent of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are satisfied with their coverage. However, the survey also found that 47 percent of enrollees are struggling with out-of-pocket costs, with 32 percent admitting that they have had to make sacrifices to afford their healthcare expenses.
The financial challenges don’t stop there. About 34 percent of respondents reported difficulty in understanding and navigating the healthcare system, making it harder for them to access care. Additionally, 41 percent of beneficiaries expressed concern about the potential increase in Medicare costs in the future.
The report further reveals that beneficiaries have to make tough choices to cope with the financial burden. Twenty-one percent of respondents have had to cut back on other expenses to afford their healthcare, while 11 percent admitted to skipping or delaying medical appointments due to costs.
Despite these challenges, Medicare Advantage continues to be popular among seniors. The study shows that the number of Medicare Advantage enrollees has increased by 9 percent in the past year, reaching a total of 28.6 million. This growth is attributed to the program’s comprehensive coverage and the option to access additional benefits not available through traditional Medicare.
The findings highlight the need for policymakers and healthcare providers to address the financial barriers faced by Medicare Advantage beneficiaries. With the growing popularity of these plans, it is crucial to ensure that enrollees can access affordable, high-quality healthcare without making undue sacrifices in other areas of their lives.
The report also highlights the differences between Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans, providing valuable insights for beneficiaries deciding which plan to choose. While Medicare Advantage plans often come with lower monthly premiums and additional benefits, Medicare Supplement plans offer greater flexibility and can cover more out-of-pocket costs. However, these added benefits often come with higher premiums.
The study found that 89 percent of Medicare Supplement enrollees reported satisfaction with their coverage. Among these beneficiaries, 29 percent stated they had no out-of-pocket costs, and only 13 percent reported having to make financial sacrifices to afford their healthcare.
As the Medicare Advantage program continues to expand, it is critical for all stakeholders – beneficiaries, providers, and policymakers – to work together to ensure that enrollees can access the care they need without facing undue financial strain. By addressing these challenges, the healthcare system can better support the health and well-being of millions of seniors across the country.
To read the entire eHealth, Inc. report, click here.
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