Study: Most happy with U.S. Medicare

July 29, 2012 at 2:35 PM
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NEW YORK, July 29 (UPI) -- Beneficiaries with private Medicare Advantage plans are less satisfied with their insurance than those with a traditional Medicare plan, a U.S. non-profit says.

Karen Davis, Kristof Stremikis, Michelle Doty and Mark Zezza of the Commonwealth Fund also found only 8 percent of Medicare beneficiaries rated their insurance as fair or poor, compared with 20 percent of adults with employer insurance and 33 percent who purchased insurance on their own.

As the federal government weighs proposals to cut Medicare spending, the analysis, based on results from The Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey of 2010, suggests shifting Medicare beneficiaries into private plans could put the elderly at greater risk for not getting needed healthcare and being less satisfied with their insurance.

The study, published in Health Affairs, found Medicare beneficiaries had better access to care and greater financial protection than adults with private coverage. In 2010, 23 percent of Medicare beneficiaries went without needed healthcare because of costs, compared with 37 percent of those with employer coverage.

Adults with employer-based insurance -- 39 percent -- and individual insurance -- also at 39 percent -- reported medical bill problems at almost double the rate of Medicare beneficiaries at 21 percent.

"Medicare continues to do better than employer-sponsored and individual plans when it comes to providing people with good access to healthcare and adequate protection from burdensome medical bills," Stremikis said in a statement.

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