Short Takes On News & Events

Seniors Satisfied With Medicare, Anxious About Future, Survey Finds

By Alvin Tran

October 18th, 2012, 4:11 PM

Although most seniors appear to be at least somewhat satisfied with their Medicare coverage, many are deeply worried about what the future may hold for the program, according to a national survey released this week.

More than 60 percent of seniors surveyed said they are concerned about changes the program may undergo.

The poll, commissioned by Allsup, an Illinois-based, Social Security disability claims representation company, found that 89 percent of seniors are extremely or somewhat satisfied with the coverage they currently have through Medicare.

“Fifty million Americans are relying on the program and they’re very satisfied with it,” said Rebecca Ray, a representative from Allsup. “They like the current version. They like the version they’re receiving now.”

The  findings were not a surprise given the current state of politics, according to Mary Dale Walters, Allsup’s Senior Vice President.

Most seniors rely on Social Security for the majority of their income, and each year there is a modest cost-of-living increase – for example, next year’s increase of 1.7 percent will result in about $227 more in their Social Security checks, she said in an email.

“Many seniors experience much higher increases in their healthcare costs when you factor in premiums, co-pays and deductibles, and we are living longer,”  she said. “So, having Medicare benefits trimmed back is very concerning to them.” The survey also found that about 71 percent were willing to shoulder increased costs to preserve their current coverage. This willingness was usually linked to satisfaction.

“It was somewhat surprising how many seniors would be willing to pay more for Medicare,” Walters added. “That, I think, underscores just how concerned they are about Medicare’s future.”

Seniors also told pollsters that their ability to pay for longterm care was a big worry. These issues are “very critical to them,” Ray added.

The poll of 1,000 seniors was conducted by Richard Day Research between July 5 and 11 and has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points. Only individuals 65 years and older who currently have Medicare coverage were surveyed.

10 Responses to “Seniors Satisfied With Medicare, Anxious About Future, Survey Finds”

  1. Lawrence O. says:

    The handwriting is on the wall. Fee-for-service healthcare will be obsolete within the next decade. There’s one simple answer to getting healthcare costs under control. A single-payer healthcare system much like they have in the UK or Canada where the government controls virtually every aspect of healthcare and dictates the limits of treatment. The only people excused from that model will be the 1 percent of people who can afford to buy concierge treatment. The rest of us will be at the mercy of what the government decides is appropriate. Nothing more! Nothing less! For 50 million uninsured Americans and for 25 million underinsured Americans, things will get much better under a single-payer system. At least they will get something. For the rest of us? Expect to get less “designer” healthcare. You may not even get to see a doctor when you go to your neighborhood clinic. Fact is, you will get something that looks like what our veterans get from the VA healthcare system. It will amount to “basic” healthcare with no frills. One good thing to come out of all of this will be that we will see an end to what caused the problem in the first place. Profit driven insurance companies. They have been bilking the system for far too long. It’s high time we put an end to insurance company corruption.

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  3. Bill Mahan says:

    There is an active single-payer, Medicare for All bill in the House of Representative now. It is HR676 and it currently has 76 sponsors. Tell your congressman to get on board because Lawrence O. is correct, the only way our healthcare will become affordable, accessible and equitable is with this system. I don’t believe that the conditions will be as austere as Lawrence believes, but it will under more control. Peace of mind and good prevenative and primary care are the objectives. It will be difficult for a while as we will need many more non-specialists to handle the demand. Unfortunately our complex system that includes the for-profit model has produced a 3000% increase in administrative healthcare specialists since 1975 but just a 104% increase in physicians and the primary care physician are abandoning their practices as out of pocket expenses and co-pays keep people from going to a doctor until they are sick enough seek out a specialist. Single-payer will eventually be here, but it will take a while to repair the system after free enterprise excesses has made such a mess of it.

  4. Robert says:

    Lawrence and Bill–not totally, but wrong on both counts! To think that Big Brother(government) can do a better job than you and your doctor is to believe in the tooth fairy!! Everything that government has tackled they have ruined–read the history.

    As to who is to blame for the cost of health care–which is the REAL problem–I would think that would come from the medical field more than health insurance companies. If those within the medical field didn’t have to charge outrageous prices for their services–based in part to the over-priced medical machinery they must have, the paying insurance companies wouldn’t have to raise their premiums.

    So, as is mostly the case, it is not this or that which has caused medical care costs to balloon out of control, it is both this and that! Simply put, it is a systemic problem brought on by many variables within the health care field!! They’re all to blame!!

  5. Gerard Mayer says:

    I believe we must let the Affordable care Act play out. Already seniors are benefiting from the “doughnut hole” closure. The fee for service issue is next with Accountable care organizations being paid an all inclusive fee. Experts contend over 30% of care is unnessary or of no value, the Act begins to use the research to discourage the unnessary care. More emphasis on prosecution of fraud and abuse is underway. Emphasis on primary care and “medical homes” are being promoted and paid for. A uniform accessable medical record is underway. Now we need to make cost and quality information available to the public. And finally, stop the “golden goose” that prohibits Medicare/Medicaid from negotiating with Big Pharma.

  6. rj says:

    “next year’s increase of 1.7 percent will result in about $227 more in their Social Security checks” The math is way off and the average recipient will receive about $21 more a month not $227.

  7. Julie says:

    One issue I have is with the system we have now, we have no IDEA what the COST is for anything in the present system…Remember when Lasix surgery came out, all kinds of practices were doing it and had competitive pricing…We need our Primary providers or possibly a case manager to be our advocates in finding quality healthcare, but…knowing the cost…I mean we go to a hospital and are given orders for all kinds of testing..then, we wait in the hospital to have those tests…and get those results…lots of valuable and costly time is wasted…especially if we are stable and not having any further pain etc..It would be alot less costly to send patient to an outpatient facilty to have those tests and then go back home..make an appt with the physician for the next day for results..I mean think about it, we know the cost of a car being fixed, we know the cost of when we take our animals to the vets…but we don’t know the costs for that IV we are getting or even the admission kit we are given,,the Tylenol we need…etc…and we can’t refuse it…we don’t get a choice…But, we usually have the attitude, the insurance will cover it…so, we don’t care what the cost is…I think as healthcare providers maybe they need to advertise what they charge for a surgery vs what this guy charges down the road? I am a case manager myself, its amazing the cost differences in the physicians charges for office visits, for surgery, for supplies, they now even have their own pharmacies! And don’t get me started on hospital costs!! Amazing!

  8. Patrick says:

    “…we have no IDEA what the COST is for anything in the present system…”


    Because we continue to allow private insurance companies to run things and we continue to allow doctors and hospitals hide everything they do in order to protect the gravy train they have enjoyed for decades. Nothing is transparent because Republicans like it that way. That is why they want to repeal Obamacare. Obamacare begins to expose fraud and abuse and Republicans hate when that happens. Like the mushrooms we have become, Republicans want to keep you in the dark. Romney and Ryan have a solution. Repeal Obamacare and immediately return to a fee-for-service healthcare system that is completely controlled by private insurers. If these two get elected, you can look forward to at least four years of not knowing what anything really costs when it comes to healthcare.

  9. Patrick says:

    “Everything that government has tackled they have ruined–read the history.”

    Uh, Robert…I guess you are referring to the economic mess we were left with in 2008 at the end of eight insane years of the Bush/Cheney era? I guess that’s the kind of government ruin you are talking about, huh? The kind of ruin that can only be matched by the famous “Crash of 1929″ after a long trickle-down Republican era of Harding, Coolidge and Hoover ? Is that what you are referring to…Robert? The kind of government ruin that takes an FDR and more than a full decade to climb out of? Is that what you are referring to…Robert? Is that the government ruin you speak of…Robert? Huh…Robert?

  10. Patrick says:

    Any “historical government ruin” that I can remember in my studies of American history came from long periods of trickle-down Republican control of government. History proves that somebody had to clean up the mess that Republicans always left. We saw it, in a major way, after 1929 and we saw it again, in a major way, after 2008. Democrats were the custodians that came along after Republicans screwed things up royally and finally voters had had enough and booted them out of office. That’s how I remember history…Robert! Today, Mitt Romney, and his extremist right-wing side-kick Paul Ryan, are on the verge of fooling the American electorate again. If these two morons get elected, the historical cycle of ruin repeats again!