With Retirement Delayed for Many, New Study Finds 40% of Older Americans Don’t Understand Options for Medicare While Working
Survey of older Americans finds them anticipating retirement at age 71, data show significant confusion about their healthcare alternatives when they reach Medicare eligibility at age 65
Belleville, Illinois — August 24, 2022 — As economic concerns about inflation and sagging retirement investments grow, individuals near retirement age are examining the prospect of working longer than they’d like – in part because they don’t understand their health insurance options as they get older, according to Allsup, a nationwide provider of disability representation, health insurance benefits and return to work services.
A new Allsup survey of 1,041 older American workers found that fully one-third of those nearing retirement age (62-64) who plan to keep working past 65, don’t understand they can sign up for what often is more affordable Medicare coverage, even while they’re still employed.
Among those already working past age 65, more than half (54%) reported maintaining their employee healthcare benefits was a factor in their decision to remain in the workforce. The survey was conducted by Allsup Benefits Coordination service, which assists workers in comparing and choosing from a range of health benefit options available to them, from employer group plans to Medicare and the Healthcare Insurance Marketplace.
“For those approaching retirement age, Medicare can be complicated and confusing,” said Bethany Cissell, Allsup Benefits Coordination account manager and healthcare benefits expert. “Allsup’s research finds many who are still working don’t understand the Medicare program, its eligibility provisions, or its benefits. As retirement seems further away for many, employees need more help understanding their options and their employers need to ensure their staff has access to expert healthcare assistance to make the best decisions for their own situations.”
Though individual circumstances vary, Medicare for workers 65 and older can be a more cost-effective option depending on their employer’s plan. They frequently find multiple advantages with Medicare, particularly when it comes to copays or other forms of cost-sharing. This means Medicare offers alternatives that can greatly reduce out-of-pocket costs. In fact, the survey found 80% of those who enrolled in Medicare while continuing to work said their coverage is as good as or better than their employer group health insurance plan.
While many respondents acknowledge they have a limited understanding of Medicare, Allsup also found that 61% of people approaching eligibility are interested in information or counsel on health insurance benefits, including Medicare. However, few have sought official information. For those who already qualify, 50% said they were definitely interested in learning more about Medicare, especially the opportunity to speak with a Medicare benefits counselor.
Although perceptions about Medicare coverage are relatively positive, respondents still voiced some hesitation and misconceptions about Medicare. For example, 34% of those ages 62-64 stated they were unaware they could receive Medicare while working, although more than half (56%) of adults ages 62-64 plan to enroll as soon as they’re eligible. In addition, over a quarter (28%) of individuals 65 or older who have not yet enrolled and 18% of individuals under 65 don’t think Medicare coverage is as good as their current insurance, which is another misconception.
“Without the right information, it can be difficult to decide which healthcare insurance is right for you,” Cissell said. “That’s why Allsup makes it easy to evaluate health plan options, and prioritizes educating individuals on plans that best meet their needs.”
Find the Allsup report available for free download online, “Employees and Medicare: Reporting on Medicare-Age Workers and Their Healthcare Perspectives.”
For more information about Allsup Benefits Coordination service, call (866) 521-7655 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The survey of 1,041 U.S. adults ages 62 and older who are still working full time (30+ hours per week) was conducted May 9–16, 2022. Participants included a mix of workers with private insurance and Medicare coverage. (Not included: self-employed and anyone with Medicaid.) Respondents were recruited from an online research panel and surveyed across a combination of computer, mobile, and tablet devices. Survey questions were administered in English. The margin of error is +/-3% at the 95% confidence interval. The study was conducted by Pinkston.
Allsup and its subsidiaries provide nationwide Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, return to work, and healthcare benefits services for individuals, their employers and insurance carriers. Allsup professionals deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. Founded in 1984, the company is based in Belleville, Illinois, near St. Louis. Learn more at Allsupllc.com and @Allsup.