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Medicare Beneficiaries Still Weighing Options as Open Enrollment Deadline Wanes


According to a survey, 63% are reviewing Medicare options for the 2022 plan year.

With less than a week to go until the close of Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) Dec. 7, Medicare beneficiaries are still reviewing their Medicare options for the 2022 plan year, according to a HealthInsurance.com national survey of Medicare-eligible Americans ages 65 and up.

The annual HealthInsurance.com AEP survey asked about perceptions of current Medicare plans and coverage along with healthcare costs concerns including accessibility to some medical devices like hearing aids.

Medicare annual enrollment period

The survey revealed that 63% review their Medicare coverage on an annual basis. Thirty-three percent of those surveyed think there is a better Medicare plan than the one they are currently enrolled in, which may be why 22% intend to make a change to their current Medicare plan during AEP. Additionally, 42% of those changing their plans during AEP intend to increase their coverage, while an additional 42% are wanting plans with lower costs.

In terms of plan type, our survey found that 33% are considering switching from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage; 33% are considering changing from one Medicare Advantage plan to another; and 20% are considering changing their prescription plan.

Healthcare costs concerns

Cost is playing a big role in the decision-making process for many Medicare beneficiaries. Of those on Medicare, 89% think prescription drug prices are too high, 64% are worried about out-of-pocket medical costs, and 39% admit to not filling a prescription because it was too expensive. So it's no surprise that 84% of our Medicare-eligible survey respondents are taking advantage of "senior discounts" to help curb healthcare costs.

Accessibility emerged as a theme for this survey, too: 68% said that hearing aids should be sold over the counter, and 44% said they have or know someone who has avoided getting a hearing aid because of the cost.

Choosing the right Medicare plan

Though choosing the right Medicare plan is an important decision, 59% still find it overwhelming or confusing to pick the best Medicare plan for their needs. In fact, 41% say understanding benefits is the most challenging part of finding the right Medicare plan.

Our HealthInsurance.com Medicare survey also gauged what's most important when it comes to choosing the Medicare plan. 34% said selecting a Medicare plan that accepts their doctors is most important, followed by plans with low premiums and copays (25%) or extra benefits like vision and dental (25%).

Shopping for the right Medicare plan

Sixty-two percent shop for Medicare plans online, which aligns with the 58% that do the majority of their research online to help understand their Medicare options.

Meanwhile, 37% contact their insurance agents to help them understand their Medicare options. And 22% turn to their family members or friends to help them navigate their Medicare plan options.

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