CHICAGO, November 17, 2020 — The concept of Medicare at 60 is not new, but 77% of respondents in a recent survey were unfamiliar with proposals to lower the age. Still, when asked for their perspective on lowering the Medicare eligibility age, the majority of non-Medicare respondents and Medicare beneficiaries were in favor.
GoHealth recently commissioned a survey of 3,229 people through a third-party from October 9 to October 16, 2020. The respondent groups included employed, unemployed, retired and Medicare beneficiaries. The report, “Lowering the Medicare Eligibility Age: Opinion & Awareness Among Older Adults,” examines the understanding and opinion of the proposals to allow Americans, if they choose, to enroll in Medicare before 65.
“I think most stakeholders across the entire healthcare ecosystem want to make healthcare as efficient and affordable as it can be for older adults that rely on their providers and health insurance to extend their golden years,” said Clint Jones, GoHealth co-founder & CEO. “We focus on educating aging Medicare beneficiaries to utilize all their benefits and resources available with health insurance because longevity always starts with preventive care, knowledge and the right support.”
For those employed and unemployed ages 55 to 64, most are worried about their ability to afford health insurance before reaching the current Medicare eligibility age of 65. Fifty-seven percent of the employed group is worried, and 62% of the unemployed group feels the same.
“Health Insurance Outlook” Key Findings
Thirty-three percent of those employed and unemployed and under 65 are planning to reduce preventive care appointments and/or everyday household purchases like groceries to afford health insurance before they reach 65.
Fifty-seven percent of the non-working group under 65 (e.g., retired and unemployed) has experienced increased health insurance costs since stopping work, including premiums, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, copays and coinsurance amounts.
Thirty-eight percent of the non-working group gets health insurance through either a former employer or a partner’s employer, and 10% currently do not have insurance. That includes a 17% uninsured rate among the unemployed subset; 23% of the unemployed are on Medicaid.
Of those that were aware of proposals to lower the eligibility age, 64% of non-Medicare respondents and 49% of Medicare beneficiaries were in favor.
Of those that were not aware of proposals to lower the eligibility age, 70% of non-Medicare respondents and 58% of Medicare beneficiaries were in favor, particularly if there’s a plan to prevent cost hikes or underfunding.
Those in favor of lowering the age most prefer 62 (33%) or 60 (34%), while fewer favor dropping the age to 55 (19%) or 50 (10%).
Lowering the eligibility age would even impact health and well-being: 53% of those employed (and 44% of the non-working group) said they could receive regular screenings for medical conditions for which they may be at risk.
Forty-three percent of those employed said that lowering the age would allow them to retire earlier.
Thirteen percent of Medicare beneficiaries would be willing to pay more in premiums if it lowered the standard eligibility age.
As a leading health insurance marketplace, GoHealth’s mission is to improve access to healthcare in America. Enrolling in a health insurance plan can be confusing for customers, and the seemingly small differences between plans can lead to significant out-of-pocket costs or lack of access to critical medicines and even providers. GoHealth combines cutting-edge technology, data science and deep industry expertise to match customers with the healthcare policy and carrier that is right for them. Since its inception, GoHealth has enrolled millions of people in Medicare and individual and family plans. For more information, visit https://www.gohealth.com/.