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August 25, 2022

A majority of Medicare beneficiaries are worried about getting a surprise medical bill according to a recent study.

Medicare beneficiaries were asked about their biggest fears concerning their Original Medicare coverage (Medicare Part A and Part B), which is the nation’s largest health care plan. Receiving a surprise medical bill topped the list, with 63 percent of responses.

Other fears near the top of the list for Medicare beneficiaries included:

  • Their health care provider not being in-network (38 percent)
  • Not being able to pay their deductible (35 percent)
  • Not being able to pay their copayment or coinsurance costs (29 percent)

Medicare Advantage enrollees worry about out-of-pocket costs more than Medicare Supplement enrollees: 38% of Medicare Advantage enrollees said they worry about deductibles, compared to 29% of Medicare Supplement enrollees. Similarly, Medicare Advantage enrollees were more likely to cite worries about copays than those enrolled in Medicare Supplement (34% vs. 22%).

In addition, 34% of MA enrollees are worried about their copay compared with 22% for supplement plan holders.

Women and higher-income respondents are more concerned about provider networks: 33% of women said coverage of their preferred providers was their top concern, compared to 28% of men; 47% of those with an income of $100,000 or more per year cited coverage of network providers as their top concerns, compared to only 25% of those with an income of less than $25,000

However, premiums were not as big of a deal for MA enrollees. Only 18% of MA plan holders were concerned about their monthly premium compared with 23% for Medicare supplement plan holders.

The study was based on a voluntary survey of consumers who enrolled in Medicare plans. The survey was conducted in January 2020 and a total of 1,086 responses were received. All figures were rounded to the nearest full percentage point. Total percentages may add to slightly more or less than 100 due to rounding.

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