The National Council on Aging has published the results of a survey that shows that older adults, especially those struggling financially, need to receive expanded education on Medicare options
All eligible seniors are allowed to make changes to their coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period from Oct. 15 – Dec. 7, 2011.
The poll, conducted for the National Council on Aging (NCOA) by GfK Roper, with support from UnitedHealthCare (UHC), indicated that:
- 46% of respondents have never shopped around for better Medicare coverage because many (41%) thought they couldn’t save any money, were confused by Medicare (35%), or didn’t understand Medicare at all (16%).
- Less than half of respondents were familiar with the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole” or coverage gap.
- Only 12% described their understanding of the health reform law as excellent or good.
- Many were not aware of extra benefits that can provide critical assistance for vulnerable seniors, including Medicare Savings Programs (68%), which help people with limited income pay for some or all of their Medicare costs, and Extra Help (53%), which helps pay for prescription drug costs.
For information on Medicare, these resources are helpful:
- www.Medicare.gov – the official government site for Medicare
- www.SHIPtalk.org – local help from a network of trained counselors
- www.BenefitsCheckUp.org – find benefits you may not realize you are eligible for
- www.Eldercare.gov – local information and referrals
GfK Roper interviewed 500 boomers (age 60-64) and 1,000 seniors (age 65+) by telephone from July 13 – July 29, with a sampling error of plus or minus 2.5%.