Purpose: The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between satisfaction of Medicare coverage for out-of-pocket costs and problems paying medical bills among Medicare beneficiaries with type 2 diabetes.
Methods: The 2019 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey Public Use File, a nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries aged ≥65 years with type 2 diabetes, was analyzed (n = 2178). A survey-weighted multivariable logit regression model was conducted to examine the association between satisfaction of Medicare coverage for out-of-pocket costs and problems paying medical bills, adjusted for sociodemographics and comorbidities.
Results: Among study beneficiaries, 12.6% reported problems paying medical bills. Among those with and without problems paying medical bills, 59.5% and 12.8%, respectively, were dissatisfied with out-of-pocket costs. In the multivariable analysis, beneficiaries who were dissatisfied with out-of-pocket costs were more likely to report problems paying medical bills than those who were satisfied. Younger beneficiaries, beneficiaries with lower incomes, those with functional limitations, and those with multiple comorbidities were more likely to report problems paying medical bills.
Conclusions: Despite having health care coverage, more than one-tenth of Medicare beneficiaries with type 2 diabetes reported problems paying medical bills, which raises concerns about delaying or forgoing needed medical care due to unaffordability. Screenings and targeted interventions that identify and reduce financial hardships associated with out-of-pocket costs should be prioritized.