A majority (79%) of older Americans aged 60 years and over are prepared to age well, but nearly 7 in 10 (68%) are at least somewhat concerned about their health as they age, and nearly half (46%) need help understanding their health insurance benefits once they have chosen a plan.
A survey conducted by The Harris Poll, commissioned by Anthem, Inc. and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), reveals that while most respondents are confident in some aspects of navigating the healthcare system, there is opportunity for better understanding of their benefits, bill, diagnosis, and treatment.
“Each year, local Area Agencies on Aging serve and support millions of people across the country who are having difficulty understanding and navigating the healthcare system and their benefits,” says Sandy Markwood, n4a CEO. “As the go-to organization for answers on aging at the local level, n4a’s members know how important it is to engage in dialogue with older adults and understand the barriers they confront in receiving the healthcare information that they need and deserve. This is why, in partnership with Anthem, we commissioned this survey and we look forward to working together to address these obstacles.”
Among the respondents, 65% reported that they had some type of Medicare insurance coverage. More than 8 in 10 of older adults expressed confidence in: finding a provider that accepts their insurance (88%); understanding insurance options available to them (84%); and understanding their health insurance benefits (83%).
Despite this confidence, 42% believe better understanding their insurance benefits would empower them to better manage their health.
Many (59%) of older adults still find at least one thing difficult when navigating the healthcare system, such as understanding their benefits; understanding their diagnoses, and deciding on treatment; and communicating effectively with their healthcare providers.
They currently seek out the following resources to help them better navigate the healthcare system: talking to their doctor (43%); consulting their health insurance provider (26%); and having a patient navigator who helps them navigate the logistics of their care and the healthcare system (23%).