Many Older U.S. Adults Concerned About Health Care Costs, Commonwealth Fund Survey Finds
Three of five older U.S. adults are concerned that they will not have the ability to pay for health care in the future, according to a survey released on Tuesday by the Commonwealth Fund, Bloomberg/Boston Globe reports (Barry, Bloomberg/Boston Globe, 6/29). The survey, conducted late last year by Commonwealth Fund Senior Officer Sara Collins and colleagues, involved a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults between ages 50 and 70 (CQ HealthBeat, 6/28).
The survey found:
- 35% of respondents said that they had problems with the payment of medical bills in the past year or had related debts for as long as three years;
- 24% of respondents enrolled in Medicare lacked health insurance before they entered the program;
- 24% of respondents between the ages of 50 and 64 said that they had failed to fill a prescription, visit a physician when needed or receive a medical test or follow-up treatment because of cost concerns (Bowman, Scripps Howard/Detroit News, 6/29);
- More than two-thirds of respondents said that they support a proposal under which they would place 1% of their earnings into a Medicare savings account to help pay for long-term care or other health care costs;
- About half of respondents said that they will receive health benefits through an employer or the employer of a spouse when they retire; and
- About half of respondents said they have less than $50,000 in retirement savings, and two of five said that they have less than $25,000 (Bloomberg/Boston Globe, 6/29).
Collins said the survey indicates that older adults are "becoming much less protected from rapidly rising health costs" (Scripps Howard/Detroit News, 6/29).
The survey is available online. This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.