New year, new health goals and new Medicare coverage for many Medicare-eligible Americans, according to a HealthInsurance.com national survey of 1,000 Americans ages 65 and up.
The survey asked about changes made to 2022 Medicare coverage during the fall Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), as well as perceptions about out-of-pocket medical costs, healthcare technology, and accessibility to medical devices and care.
2022 Medicare plan changes during AEP
HealthInsurance.com’s previous October survey revealed that 63% review their Medicare coverage on an annual basis, with 33% believing there is a better Medicare plan than the one they are currently enrolled in. So it was no surprise that the most recent February survey uncovered that 34% considered making changes to their 2022 Medicare coverage during AEP. Of those, 42% actually made a change to their 2022 coverage.
In terms of changes to Medicare plan type during AEP, our survey found that:
- 36% changed from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, which is on par to the 33% forecasted from October’s survey.
- 43% switched to a different Medicare Advantage plan, which is more than the 33% who were considering making that change in October.
- 24% changed their prescription drug plan, a slight increase from the 20% who were considering it in October.
Healthcare costs and accessibility concerns
According to the survey, 75% are concerned about out-of-pocket medical costs. Of those on Medicare, 91% think prescription drug prices are too high, with 29% ordering prescription drugs online because it was cheaper.
Accessibility emerged as a theme for this survey, too: 68% said that hearing aids should be sold over the counter, with 91% saying they should be covered by Medicare. 22% said they have avoided getting a hearing aid because of the cost.
Meanwhile, 91% think vision and dental should be included as standard coverage in every Medicare plan.
New year health and exercise goals
The new year has given many survey respondents the opportunity to set some health goals. In fact, 25% made a health-related New Year’s resolution. At the time of this survey, 67% had stuck to their goals, and 53% of our respondents said they exercise on a regular basis.
One interesting finding was how this demographic exercises: 84% don’t go to a physical gym for their exercise. Instead, 70% said walking is their main source of activity, while 39% use at-home gym equipment and 11% do virtual workouts.
The survey also indicated that 58% of older Americans have embraced technology more during the COVID-19 pandemic—and it’s not just binge-watching and social media.
In fact, 61% think that the COVID-19 pandemic has advanced things like healthcare technology and telemedicine. Here are some key findings from the survey:
- Two-thirds (67%) trust at-home technology for when it comes to monitoring their health.
- 19% currently use a wearable device such as an Apple Watch or Fitbit to monitor their health and daily activity. Of those, 22% do so at their doctor’s recommendation.
- 42% have used telemedicine at least once since March 2020, with 64% saying they will continue to use telemedicine even after the pandemic.
- 71% said they find telemedicine/virtual visits with a doctor more convenient than going to the doctor in person.