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The Medicare Open Enrollment Period coupled with the 2020 Presidential Election created a prime opportunity to launch our latest healthinsurance.com survey that reached 1,000 U.S. adults over age 65. Survey topics focused on: Medicare Open Enrollment Medicare Healthcare Costs Telemedicine During COVID-19 Technology and Social Media Usage Among Seniors The 2020 Presidential Election Here are some key Medicare survey findings broken down by category. 2021 Medicare Open Enrollment The Medicare Open Enrollment period prompts Medicare beneficiaries to review their Medicare coverage on an annual basis. During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, Medicare beneficiaries have the option to: Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan. Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another. Disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and go back to Original Medicare. Change from one prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D) to another. Enroll in a prescription drug plan. Cancel prescription drug coverage. With these decisions in mind, our Medicare survey uncovered that: 84% are confident that they are enrolled in the right Medicare plan. 70% have never adjusted their Medicare coverage, while 34% are not sure yet if they are going to change or adjust their Medicare coverage during open enrollment. 44% say selecting a plan that accepts their doctors is most important when choosing a Medicare plan, while 27% say selecting a Medicare plan with low monthly premiums & copays is most important. Medical Cost Concerns for Medicare Beneficiaries 82% think prescription drug prices are too high. 54% are worried about the cost of healthcare if they contracted COVID-19. Telemedicine Usage Among Medicare Beneficiaries 94% of Medicare beneficiaries hadn’t used telemedicine before COVID-19. 71% of seniors on Medicare increased their telemedicine usage during the coronavirus pandemic. 42% will continue to use telemedicine on a regular basis when the pandemic is over. Seniors Are Getting Social 52% seniors use Facebook everyday. 39% seniors have gone to a restaurant over the past month. 26% seniors have attended in-person gatherings with their families within the past month. The 2020 Presidential Election 82% say this is the most important presidential election of their lifetime. 49% say the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy makes them more concerned about the U.S. healthcare system. Full Medicare Survey Results Click here to download the full Medicare survey results. Our Medicare Survey Methodology The above Medicare survey results were gathered through a national survey of 1,000 U.S. adults over age 65 on October 1-6, 2020. The survey has a margin of sampling error of +/1 3.1 percentage points. Explore More Healthinsurance.com Surveys September 2020: U.S. Healthcare, 2020 Election and More August 2020: Multigenerational Perspectives on COVID-19 July 2020: Medicare Eligible Seniors Survey Findings: Technology, COVID-19, the 2020 Election and More June 2020: Healthcare Technology, Self-Care and More May 2020: Testing, Mental Health, and More April 2020: Economic Impacts and Health Insurance Trends March 2020: Telemedicine Usage During COVID-19
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Our latest national consumer survey reaching 1,000 registered voters measured feelings about the U.S. healthcare system, the U.S. economy during the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Presidential election and telemedicine. The survey comes at a crucial decision-making time of the year when the U.S. Presidential election, health insurance open enrollment period, and the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period are fast approaching for many Americans. The United States Healthcare System When rating the U.S. healthcare system: 36% said fair. 27% said good. 24% said poor. 11% said excellent. 2% were unsure. When asked if our healthcare system has changed for the better or worse due to COVID-19: 45% felt it was unchanged. 33% felt it was worse. 14% said it was better. 8% were unsure. Also of note, 69% said giving more control to patients and doctors is the key to improving the United States healthcare system. Meanwhile, 11% chose giving more control to government officials and bureaucrats. And 20% were not sure how to improve it. Participants were also asked about the quality of U.S. healthcare services since the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) was enacted: 31% said the quality of healthcare has gone down, while 29% said it’s gone up. Lastly, 84% of our respondents said the cost of all health care services, procedures, and medications should be made available in advance to patients. The 2020 Presidential Election Our survey also honed in on what’s most important to people in the 2020 U.S. Presidential election: healthcare reform, the economy, civil rights, law and order, government corruption, and our response to COVID-19. Here’s how our participants responded: 95% said the U.S. economy is an important issue. 91% said government corruption is an important issue. 88% said our nation’s response to COVID-19 is an important issue. 88% said healthcare reform is an important issue. 86% said civil rights is an important issue. 85% said law and order is an important issue. Health Insurance in the United States Our survey also gauged feelings on an array of health insurance and employment topics, including consumer feelings about health insurance, a proposal to ban private insurance, and COVID-19 impacts on health insurance. When it comes to our respondents’ feelings on their health insurance: 38% rated their health insurance as good. 26% rated their health insurance as excellent. 23% rated their health insurance as fair. 10% rated their health insurance as poor. And when asked what type of health insurance has the best medical care coverage: 40% said employer-sponsored coverage. 21% said Medicare. 19% were unsure. 12% said Medicaid. 9% said Obamacare. Of note, 25% of our respondents have lost or know someone who lost their health insurance during COVID-19. For those who are employed, 38% are reluctant to switch jobs right now because they want to keep their current health insurance. Last but not least, the survey gauged a possible proposal to ban all private health insurance companies and require every American to get their coverage through the federal government. When asked about this concept, 15% of respondents strongly favored the proposal, while 35% were strongly opposed. As for the rest of the group, 19% were somewhat in favor and 18% were somewhat opposed to the proposal. Employment and Working From Home Our national survey also covered what’s important when considering or accepting a new job. In the “very important” category: 78% said salary. 66% said health insurance. 49% said time off. 33% said working from home. Although working from home has the lowest percentage on the “very important” scale, it turned out to be top-of-mind for some respondents. 49% felt that working remotely is better for overall health and well-being, and 40% would take a pay cut to work from home. Pulse Check on COVID-19 Testing Over the course of our survey series, we’ve gathered opinions about Coronavirus testing. Here are the latest findings: 60% were not worried about the cost of Coronavirus treatment - a decrease from the percentage we’ve seen over the past few months. 52% thought frequent COVID-19 testing is the best way to control the spread. 52% thought every child should be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis. The Latest on Telemedicine Telemedicine use during the coronavirus pandemic is another topic we’ve kept an eye on. In our latest survey, 79% had not used telemedicine prior to the pandemic, but 43% have used telemedicine during the pandemic. While highlighting several advantages of telemedicine versus visiting a doctor in person, we asked our respondents which telemedicine perk is most appealing to them. 55% said avoiding the waiting room. 47% said convenient scheduling. 47% said the wait times were better. 38% said getting care from home. Full Current Events in the United States Survey Results Click here to download the full results. Our Survey Methodology The above survey results were gathered through a national survey of 1,000 registered voters, which was conducted September 4 - 8, 2020. The survey has a margin of sampling error of +/- 3.1 percentage points. See More Healthinsurance.com Surveys August 2020: Multigenerational Perspectives on COVID-19 July 2020: Medicare Eligible Seniors Survey Findings: Technology, COVID-19, the 2020 Election and More June 2020: Healthcare Technology, Self-Care and More May 2020: Testing, Mental Health, and More April 2020: Economic Impacts and Health Insurance Trends March 2020: Telemedicine Usage During COVID-19
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Did you know that 66% of people who file for bankruptcy cite medical issues as a key contributor to their financial downfall? It's no wonder why rising healthcare costs continue to be a hot topic of conversation. So finding creative ways to save on healthcare costs should be top of mind for you. Whether you have Medicare, coverage through your employer, or insurance through the marketplaces, here are 9 ways to save on medical costs. 1. Incorporate Healthy Habits Finding ways to improve your general health and wellness can lower your out-of-pocket health care costs. After all, fewer trips to the doctor means fewer copays and less money spent on healthcare. Here are 4 simple actions you can take to live a healthier lifestyle. Less sugar, more water. Drink plenty of water and eat foods high in water: Think cucumbers, watermelon and celery. Sit less, more movement. Stand up throughout the day, stretch, take the stairs, and park further away: These are just a few ways to move more. Get rest. When thinking of healthy habits, sleep often falls low on the list. But chronic sleep deprivation can increase heart disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and many other illnesses. Wash your hands. The coronavirus pandemic serves as a major reminder to wash our hands frequently and correctly. Wash your palms, fingernails, and the backs of your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. 2. Reduce Stress Stress often increases with age, leading to a host of health problems. Finding ways to lower your stress can go a long way. There are many simple ways to reduce stress in your daily life. Try things like working out or moving daily, spending more time with friends and family, and reducing your caffeine intake. And don't forget to laugh more. 3. Save Money on Medications The cost of prescription drugs can really take a lot out of your wallet. So if you're used to getting brand-name medications, consider asking your doctor for a generic alternative. It could save you money in the long run. For seniors especially, the cost of medications continues to rise at an alarming rate. One of the simplest ways for seniors to save is to find and compare Prescription Drug Plans (Medicare Part D). Start by comparing quotes, or talking to an insurance agent who is willing to research the medications you take. The right agent will have knowledge of all the pharmacies close to your home and plans available in your area. He or she can also help you identify ways to save on your prescriptions. 4. Use a Health Savings Account (HSA) You may have access to a Health Savings Account (HSA) through your employer (or previous employer). Using an HSA can save you money because your contributions are pre-tax dollars and can accrue interest. And unlike a Flexible Savings Account (FSA), the HSA is owned by you, so it can carry over into your retirement. And there is no deadline on when you can spend the funds. 5. Know The Difference Between Emergency Care and Urgent Care Some people don't know the difference between emergency care and urgent care. But knowing which option to use in a given situation can save you money: Emergency room visits can cost far more than urgent care center visits. Your initial reaction might be to go to the ER when you need medical treatment but can't see your primary care doctor. But in many cases, an urgent care facility will serve you just as well at a lower cost. Start by keeping a list of nearby ERs and urgent care centers handy. An urgent care visit is good for a minor illness or injury, but if your condition is life-threatening, always go to the ER. You might also consider going the telemedicine route, which entails talking to a doctor online, rather than going to an in-person appointment. Telemedicine usage also gained momentumduring the coronavirus pandemic. Overall, turning to telehealth may not only reduce your healthcare costs - it could save you time and keep you out of the waiting room. 6. Ask If All Tests Are Necessary You may think that doctor-ordered tests are standard protocol, but those tests could get expensive fast. Be sure to ask your doctor if all diagnostic tests are necessary for your health. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor if all diagnostic tests are necessary for your health. Here are some questions to get the conversation started. Why is the test being done? What steps does the test involve? How long will it take to get the results? What will the test cost? 7. Request Outpatient Services When Possible Did you know that some inpatient procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis? Often, doctors choose to have a procedure performed on an inpatient basis, simply for the convenience of the patient and the medical staff. Many procedures do require a medically supervised period of recovery, but not all of them. There's nothing wrong with asking your doctor if a procedure can be performed in an outpatient clinic rather than at the hospital. If so, the savings can be significant. 8. Choose Your Doctors Wisely Just because a physician or facility accepts your health insurance or Medicare plan doesn't mean that your costs will be controlled. If you're on Medicare, consider these two steps: First, check if the provider accepts assignment. This means that the provider has agreed to accept the Medicare-approved amount as full payment for services. If your provider doesn't accept assignment, then your out-of-pocket costs may be higher. Second, choose the right doctor for you. The ideal provider has specialized experience with those age 65 and over, which can save you repeated visits to the doctor. One way to shop around for doctors and specialists is through the physician compare feature on Medicare.gov. You can use this tool to compare providers in your area, or you may opt to discuss the topic with a licensed insurance agent. In general, researching and shopping around for the right healthcare provider could save you money over time. 9. Use Your Medicare Benefits It may sound contradictory, but going to the doctor can ultimately lower your healthcare costs. Most insurance plans, including Medicare Advantage, come with certain wellness benefits. Getting regular physicals and patient-specific tests can uncover minor health problems before they become major ones. Let's say a man gets a routine PSA blood test done, which reveals the possibility of low-grade prostate cancer. Early intervention makes the treatment cost far less early on, resulting in fewer trips to the doctor and fewer copays. In other words: lower cost. You Can Save On Healthcare Costs Bottom line: Don't be afraid to do your research, ask the right questions, and incorporate healthy habits to decrease healthcare costs. You can also find more tips to avoid medical debt in this article.
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Medicare

This is a federal health insurance program primarily for individuals age 65 or older, younger people with disabilities, and for people with End Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure). There are four parts to Medicare - Parts A, B, C and Part D. Part A is for hospital coverage. Part B is for outpatient medical coverage (like doctor office visits). Part C is a Medicare Advantage Plan, and Part D is prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) are accessible through private insurance companies and must offer the same benefits as Parts A and B of Original Medicare, but the rules are different along with costs and restrictions. They also include more benefits, such as vision, dental, hearing, and health/wellness plans. Another add-on value to Medicare coverage is the purchase of a Medicare supplement or “Medigap” plan that fills the “gaps” in insurance that Medicare doesn’t cover (like a deductible).

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ACA (Obamacare)

Obamacare plans are major medical insurance plans that have the ten essential health benefits required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).. These plans can be purchased on the federal marketplace or through your state exchange during the annual open enrollment period that runs November 1 - December 15 or during a special enrollment period if you have a qualifying life event that leaves you uninsured. ACA plans are an excellent option for those seeking a plan that includes maternity and mental health benefits, individuals who could qualify for a financial subsidy to reduce the cost of their health insurance, or for those who have a pre-existing condition. Not sure if you qualify? Get a free quote right now.

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Dental Insurance

Dental insurance for many people is part of their employee benefits package. However, if you don’t have access to employee benefits or missed your employer’s annual open enrollment period, purchasing an individual dental insurance plan can help you maintain good dental hygiene while helping you avoid expensive dental costs Dental coverage can include basic cleanings up to major services. See if dental insurance is right for you!

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Hospital Indemnity Insurance

Hospital indemnity insurance are supplemental health insurance services that pay a fixed dollar amount for commonly used medical services, including hospital and doctor office benefits. If you experience a covered medical event, such as a hospital stay, then a hospital indemnity pays a set fee in cash directly to you or the hospital designated by you. More than just hospital insurance, our products can also include supplemental indemnity payments for a critical illness diagnosis or unexpected accidents. Hospital indemnity insurance is not considered an ACA-qualified plan, but it can be used as a supplement to a major medical ACA plan to help cover a deductible or out-of-pocket expenses.

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Short Term Medical Health Insurance

A short-term health plan is temporary health insurance that can be purchased for as little as 30-days up or for up to 364-days to fill an immediate uninsured need.. Plans use the same terminology as major medical insurance, like deductible, coinsurance and copays, but since it is for temporary needs, it does not cover all of the same health benefits that an ACA health plan would, like maternity or substance abuse. The coverage is primarily for unexpected accidents and illnesses that could occur while an individual is waiting to join a permanent major medical plan, which keeps costs lower.

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Telemedicine

Telemedicine is two-way communication platform between a medical professional and a patient, typically through a smartphone or computer. During the conversation, a U.S. board-certified doctor or nurse can diagnose and prescribe medication for an illness in minutes. From the comfort of your home, you can visit with a medical professional 24/7 for most conditions they would typically diagnose in an Urgent Care clinic, saving you both time and money. Find out if telemedicine services are the right fit for you!

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Frequently Asked Questions

The required essential benefits are designed to ensure everyone in the individual and small employer group major medical health insurance markets has comprehensive coverage for specific services in accordance with ACA guidelines. These benefits are:

  • Outpatient services (e.g. office visits)
  • Emergency room services
  • Inpatient services (hospitalization)
  • Maternity
  • Mental health and substance abuse
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services (e.g. physical and occupational therapy)
  • Lab services
  • Preventive services (e.g. physicals, mammograms, etc.)
  • Pediatric dental and vision

ACA health insurance is the federally mandated health insurance law of the land, also known as Obamacare. It governs individual and family plans and requires ten minimum essential benefits. Anyone can apply, and those that are under the 400% poverty line can receive a financial subsidy to curb the cost of their health insurance. Enrollment is available November 1-December 15 in most states. If you have a life situation that leaves you uninsured, you might be eligible for the special enrollment period to get coverage.

Short term medical insurance is not ACA insurance. It is temporary insurance for those who need immediate coverage. Like ACA insurance, Short term health insurance includes benefits such as hospital, lab and x-rays, but it does not include all ten of the minimum essential benefits and it does not cover pre-existing conditions.

Many individuals apply for both Medicare Part A and Part B so they have doctor coverage and hospital coverage. However, if you are interested in additional benefit structure and pricing, check out Medicare Advantage Plans, which is known as Part C to see if it fits for your life situation. Medicare Part C includes Part A and B benefits, but is offered through a private health insurance company instead of the federal government and may offer additional benefits and may have some other varying differences. If you take prescription drugs, it’s smart to look into Part D, which is the prescription drug benefit of Medicare.

Indemnity insurance such as a health benefit indemnity (a hospital indemnity often combined with other supplemental insurance services) is not major medical insurance Instead, it provides a cash payment directly to you (or to the provider you identify) when you experience a covered event, like unexpected hospitalization. You can choose how to use your benefit dollars and it helps defray the cost of medical expenses, both the expected like co-pays and deductibles, and the unexpected, like lost wages. Indemnity plans help protect you financially.

Dental insurance is an added benefit that is not covered by your health insurance plan. Cleanings, crowns or root canals are not covered by your health insurance plan. But dental insurance will help ease the cost of these types of medical expenses. However, unless you have employer group health insurance, dental insurance is not available unless you purchase coverage on your own. It’s a good idea to determine what kind of coverage you might need for you and your family.

Telemedicine is low-cost access to U.S. board-certified doctors who can treat symptoms and prescribe medications over the phone or through video chat, just like a visit to Urgent Care. Unlike the doctor's office, you get a personal visit from the comfort of your home 24/7, even on holidays! If you have a high deductible or don't have a doctor's office copay option on your health plan, telemedicine is much more affordable than paying out-of-pocket for a doctor's office visit that takes you away from work or home.

Health insurance can help protect you financially from the medical bills - like an accident or illness diagnosis you were not expecting. Paying for medical care out of pocket 100% can get extremely expensive. Surgical treatment for a broken arm averages $16,000. But with health insurance coverage, you will be able to manage your expenses. Not only does health insurance help you access providers like hospitals and doctors, it helps cover your expenses. Depending on your plan, you may have to meet a deductible and pay a co-pay amount for doctor’s visits, but insurance can cover a significant portion of your insurance bills. For example, the average ACA bronze level plan deductible is $5,900, but there is no lifetime max (e.g. an amount beyond which, insurance doesn’t have to pay). You can secure lower deductibles with higher level ACA plans (silver, gold, platinum) and with Short term health insurance. Short term life insurance plans do have a lifetime maximum, so if choosing a short term plan, check the amount. Often, for a few extra dollars, you can secure a lifetime maximum of $500,000 or more.

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