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Seniors expecting more from their Medicare plans than just basic care

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Americans 65+ want more personalized, whole-person support

Americans ages 65 and older expect a lot more from their Medicare plans than just basic medical care, according to a survey from Virgin Pulse, a digital well-being company. The Medicare market is expected to account for approximately 20% of the U.S. population by 2050, and the number of Medicare Advantage plans available per person has doubled since 2017.

The survey found that seniors are eager for personalized, whole-person support that is aligned with their health priorities. Of those surveyed, 91% said benefits like hearing aids and gym memberships are important to them, while 80% said they want support staying connected to family and friends. Nearly 40% said they value mental health programs and resources.

All seniors want the opportunity to live long healthy lives, but priorities vary by population. The ability to obtain healthy food was desired by more than 79% of Black members and almost 68% of Hispanic members, and likewise, transportation assistance to medical appointments was a benefit valued by 53% and 43% respectively.

The survey found that 1 in 3 seniors worry about being able to afford recommended care, like prescriptions and medical procedures. Despite these cost concerns, 20% said they were surprised by a bill or by how much care cost, and 16.5% said they cannot always afford their prescriptions.

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Older Americans are not as optimistic about the future as they were before the COVID-19 pandemic. More than half (58%) believe they are viewed as medical burdens by the health care system, and only 54% said they felt healthier than their parents’ generation, compared to 88% when asked the same question in late 2018.

“The health and wellbeing priorities of all Americans – including older adults – are continuously evolving, and they expect customized benefits that address the whole person,” said April Gill, executive vice president and general manager of health plans and health systems for Virgin Pulse, in a statement. “With member experience more important than ever, plans that embrace these desires will reap the rewards and stay competitive in a crowded market. By leveraging new ways to engage members that combine both high-tech and human touch experiences, plans will stand out and successfully attract and retain members.”

The complete survey can be found here: The Health Plan of the Future: What Older Americans Want.


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