One in Four Seniors on Medicare Don’t Understand Their Various Plan Options, According to New Oak Street Health Survey
CHICAGO, IL — October 5, 2020 — With the Medicare Annual Election Period approaching on October 15, seniors will soon be able to enroll in Medicare for the first time or change their health plan to one that better suits their needs. But seniors currently on Medicare may not be equipped to make an informed decision about whether to keep or switch their plan. A new survey by Oak Street Health, a network of primary care centers for adults on Medicare, found that, of those surveyed, one in four Medicare-enrolled seniors currently don’t understand the options available.
In a survey of 1,000 Medicare enrollees aged 65+, Oak Street Health explored the experiences seniors have had with their current coverage and what, if anything, would drive them to switch plans. Key findings include:
- Medicare enrollees are happy with their plan, but many feel they don’t get the most out of their coverage. Seventy-eight percent of seniors surveyed reported satisfaction with their current Medicare coverage and the majority (85%) do not plan to switch their Medicare plan this year. The majority of respondents, however, only somewhat agree that they fully understand (53%) and utilize (50%) all the benefits offered by their Medicare plan.
- There is an opportunity for education on different plan options. One in four seniors (25%) surveyed said they do not understand the difference between the various plan options, indicating an opportunity for more education and support for seniors who may benefit from switching plans.
- Cost and a change in coverage needs are the primary drivers for seniors planning to switch Medicare plans during the 2020 Annual Election Period. Key reasons for a change in plans include:
- Health needs have changed and they need more basic coverage (29%)
- Health needs have changed and they need more comprehensive coverage (27%)
- Financial situation has changed and they need a less expensive premium (28%)
- Seniors look to the experts for support on navigating Medicare plan options. Respondents reported the following resources have the most influence on their decision-making when it comes to insurance:
- Medical professionals (25%)
- Family or friends (19%)
- Online ratings and reviews (13%)
- Medical professionals (25%)
“We were happy to see that the majority of Medicare-enrolled seniors we surveyed are generally pleased with their current coverage, but it also revealed there is an opportunity to better educate seniors on all of their options so they can make an informed decision about the right plan for them,” said Dr. Olaoluwa Fayanju, Senior Medical Director, Oak Street Health. “At Oak Street Health, we’re proud to provide unbiased, one-on-one support to help patients navigate their benefits, as well as connect seniors to trusted insurance agents in order to help our patients get the most out of their healthcare coverage plan.”
For more information about Oak Street Health, click here.
About Oak Street Health
Founded in 2012, Oak Street Health is a network of value-based, primary care centers for adults on Medicare. With a mission of rebuilding healthcare as it should be, the company operates an innovative healthcare model focused on quality of care over volume of services, and assumes the full financial risk of its patients. Oak Street Health currently operates more than 65 centers across Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. To learn more about Oak Street Health’s proven approach to care, visit oakstreethealth.com.
Erica Frank, Vice President of Public Relations
Oak Street Health