Boomers Vague on Medicare

Baby boomers are more likely to think that Medicare is in for major changes than they are to understand basic Medicare program terminology.

The National Council on Aging, Washington, and UnitedHealth Group Inc., Minnetonka, Minn. (NYSE:UNH), have reported that finding in a summary of results from a survey of 500 U.S. baby boomers ages 60 to 64 and 1,000 U.S. residents ages 65 and older.

The survey sponsors found that only 36% of the survey participants over age 64 - and just 23% of the participants ages 60 to 64 - understand Medicare well enough to know that Medicare Part A is the Medicare program component that covers the cost of hospital care.

About 50% of the seniors, and just 37% of the boomers, said they were familiar with the Medicare Part D prescription drug program doughnut hole - the gap between where routine drug benefits end and catastrophic coverage begins.

The sponsors also found a high degree of uncertainty about the future of the program: 57% of the boomers said they don't feel they know what the future holds for Medicare, and 24% said they expect to see major changes in the program.

- Allison Bell

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