Medicare beneficiaries less likely to experience cost- and access-related problems than adults with private coverage

Health Aff (Millwood). 2012 Aug;31(8):1866-75. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.1357. Epub 2012 Jul 18.


The experiences of people covered by Medicare and those with private employer insurance can help inform policy debates over the federal budget deficit, Medicare's affordability, and the expansion of private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. This article provides evidence that people with employer-sponsored coverage were more likely than Medicare beneficiaries to forgo needed care, experience access problems due to cost, encounter medical bill problems, and be less satisfied with their coverage. Within the subset of beneficiaries who are age sixty-five or older, those enrolled in the private Medicare Advantage program were less likely than those in traditional Medicare to have premiums and out-of-pocket costs exceed 10 percent of their income. But they were also more likely than those in traditional Medicare to rate their insurance poorly and to report cost-related access problems. These results suggest that policy options to shift Medicare beneficiaries into private insurance would need to be attentive to potentially negative insurance experiences, problems obtaining needed care, and difficulties paying medical bills.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Health Expenditures*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage*
  • Insurance, Health*
  • Male
  • Medicare*
  • Middle Aged
  • Private Sector*
  • United States
  • Young Adult