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Seniors More Likely to Shop for Cable Than Medicare

Study also shows most don't review coverage annually

Seniors shop harder for cable TV than Medicare

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A new survey found that older people spend more time shopping for cable TV and internet service than for Medicare plans.

Older Americans are more likely to shop for cable and internet plans and gasoline than they are for Medicare, according to a recent survey released by a managed care services provider.

The survey, by Tampa, Fla.-based WellCare Health Plans, said only a third of seniors comparison-shop for their Medicare plan. That compares with 54 percent who shop to save money for groceries, 45 percent who shop for home or automotive insurance, and 40 percent who shop for a cable and internet plan.

"The emergence of a new epidemic among seniors — an epidemic of apathy when it comes to Medicare coverage — could have a significant impact on the financial health of seniors," Michael Polen, executive vice president of Medicare and operations for WellCare, said in a statement.

"There are numerous benefits beyond just cost, network and formulary that play a critical role in seniors' care, including rehabilitation services, diagnostic services and care for people experiencing cognitive and neurological decline, all of which are experiencing an increase in demand, but that aren't necessarily fully covered by traditional Medicare," he said.

Seniors also are more likely to review several other major purchases every year than they are to review their Medicare coverage, the survey indicated. About 40 percent of seniors review their Medicare plan annually, but 44 percent review their cable and internet plan, and 46 percent review their home or car insurance.

One major reason for the lack of Medicare review is complexity, the survey indicated. Twenty-three percent of seniors said they found reviewing their Medicare plan to be the most unpleasant or second-most unpleasant task among a list provided to them by pollsters (other choices included "getting a colonoscopy" and "going to the dentist").

The survey was conducted in October by consultancy firm Kelton Global on behalf of WellCare. It studied 1,026 adults 65 and older. WellCare provides government-sponsored managed care services to approximately 4.3 million clients.

 

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