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Medicare patients wonder if the program will last, but unwilling to sacrifice to save it

News
Article

Patients have limits as to what they are willing to give up in order to secure the long-term sustainability of Medicare

Many of today’s Medicare beneficiaries have concerns about the long-term sustainability of the program, but say there are limits as to what they are willing to accept to maintain it, according to research from eHealth.

Medicare: ©Vitalii Vodolazskyi - stock.adobe.com

Medicare: ©Vitalii Vodolazskyi - stock.adobe.com

Medicare’s Board of Trustees estimated that funding for Medicare Part A will become insolvent and unable to pay full benefits by 2031. Researchers surveyed more than 3,500 current beneficiaries and found that 74% worry about the long-term viability of the program. Nearly all (97%) of those surveyed said they feel entitled to the benefits they receive today, but 84% say significant changes must be made if the program is to survive for future generations.

However, very few are willing to make sacrifices to save it. Only 12% would accept increases in their current costs or reductions in their benefits if such changes ensured the sustainability of Medicare.

"After paying into Medicare for many years, current beneficiaries justifiably feel they are entitled to the benefits they've earned," said eHealth CEO Fran Soistman, in a statement. "Our new research shows that they are aware of, and care about, the long-term financial challenge of funding Medicare. However, it also highlights the challenges for elected leaders who want to do something about it. My hope is that our research published today helps bring valuable insights to the conversation."

Additional highlights from the report:

  • 76% of Democrat voters and 74% of Republican voters worry about the sustainability of the Medicare program.
  • 62% of Republican voters give the government a D or F grade for working to secure the future of Medicare, but 73% of Democrat voters give the government an A, B, or C grade.
  • 25% of those earning under $25,000 per year are "very worried" about the future sustainability of Medicare, compared to only 12% of those with an annual income over $100,000.

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