This report summarizes first-hand accounts of seniors’ Medicare private plan decision making strategies, based on focus groups conducted in four cities. Seniors found the initial plan selection process overwhelming due to the volume of information they received and their inability to organize it. Few used the government’s online comparison tool, and those that did cite several shortcomings. Many relied on advice from sources they trust, including insurance agents, plan representatives, friends, family members, doctor’s offices and pharmacists. After they enroll in a plan, many seniors did not revisit their initial decision or review plan options without the strong provocation of a substantial increase in cost, change in coverage, or shift in personal health care needs. Moreover, they feared that a change in plans may disrupt their care, or lead to an unforeseen increase in out-of-pocket costs, and require them to learn new rules and requirements. They are doubtful they would end up in a plan that is appreciatively different or better for them. Overall, seniors preferred to have numerous choices in plans but would like personalized help and advice from experts to ease the process.
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This Policy Insight explores possible explanations for the continued rise in Medicare Advantage enrollment between 2010 and 2013 in spite of a projected decrease following payment changes in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
In The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman asks, “what’s your image of America’s seniors?” and provides some facts on the income and assets of Medicare enrollees.
A new brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation documents the continuing climb in Medicare Advantage plan enrollment, even at a time when payments to such plans are being reduced under the Affordable Care Act. Despite spending reductions enacted in the ACA to reduce historical overpayments to Medicare Advantage plans, from…
A new Kaiser Family Foundation report examines the current role and future outlook of employer-sponsored retiree health benefits for pre-65 and Medicare-eligible retirees. Retiree Health Benefits At the Crossroads reviews recent trends and developments in employer-sponsored retiree health coverage and examines the impact of recent legislation, such as the Medicare…
In the latest post in the Policy Insights series, Tricia Neuman and Gretchen Jacobson examine the surprising growth in Medicare Advantage enrollment following payment reductions included in the Affordable Care Act. Previous columns in the Policy Insights series are also available on kff.org.
Paying a Visit to the Doctor: Current Financial Protections for Medicare Patients When Receiving Physician Services
As the Congress continues to work on reforming Medicare payments for physician services, a new Kaiser Family Foundation brief examines key provisions in current law that help provide safeguards and financial protections for beneficiaries when they visit their doctor, and explains how potential changes could affect beneficiaries, providers, and the…
May 13 Briefing: How Well Are Seniors Making Choices Among Medicare’s Private Plans And Does It Matter?
The typical Medicare beneficiary this year has 18 private Medicare Advantage plans and 35 stand-alone Part D drug plan options to consider, in addition to traditional Medicare. Medicare encourages seniors to make informed decisions with respect to their health coverage options when they first become eligible for Medicare, and to…
Healthier and Wealthier, or Sicker and Poorer? Prospects for Medicare Beneficiaries Now and in the Future
This January 2014 briefing, co-sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Alliance for Health Reform, examines what is known about the health and economic security of Medicare beneficiaries today, as well as how current and future beneficiaries may be affected by the leading proposals that aim to achieve Medicare savings.
This Visualizing Health Policy infographic provides a snapshot of the role of Medicare Advantage plans, an alternative to traditional Medicare, including information about the proportion of Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, geographic differences in Medicare Advantage penetration, the trend of increasing enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans,…