More than 18 percent of Americans are enrolled in Medicare coverage, and this segment of the population is estimated to reach 64 million in the year 2020. Those who meet the Medicare eligibility requirements are entitled to Medicare benefits, but how much will they spend, on average, both in Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket expenses every month?
To answer this question — and get seniors’ thoughts on types of coverage, Medicare-for-All, and the threat of Medicare scams — HealthMarkets conducted a survey of current Medicare customers. If you need a primer on the parts of Medicare and the different types of coverage before diving into the survey results, check out this Guide to Medicare.
- Premiums and Out-of-Pocket Costs: 90% say they pay less than $200 per month in Medicare premiums, and more than three-quarters say their average monthly out-of-pocket expenses are less than $100
- Avoiding Medical Attention to Save Money: 19% of those surveyed say they have avoided or delayed a medical procedure because of the expense, even though they have Medicare coverage
- Medicare-for-All: 50% of respondents are in favor of Medicare-for-All. Of those who are in favor or unsure, nearly half say they would prefer to raise taxes by less than 1%
- Beware of Scammers: 4% have been contacted by a phone scammer, and 1% of respondents have been victims of a Medicare-related scam
Below is a breakdown of the survey results.
How Much Are Seniors Paying for Medicare Premiums?
We asked our respondents how much they pay for their current Medicare plan. The average monthly cost of Medicare premiums is less than $200 per month for 90% of survey respondents. Here’s what current Medicare enrollees are paying per month for premiums:
- Less than $100: 33%
- $100 to $199: 57%
- $200 to $299: 8%
- $300 to $399: 1%
- $400 or more: 1%
What’s the Monthly Average for Medicare Out-of-Pocket Expenses?
We polled our respondents on how much they are charged for out-of-pocket costs that their Medicare coverage doesn’t pay for. More than three-fourths of respondents said their average monthly Medicare out-of-pocket expenses are less than $100. Here’s what current Medicare enrollees are paying per month for out-of-pocket costs:
- Less than $100: 78%
- $100 to $199: 17.5%
- $200 to $299: 3%
- $300 to $399: 1%
- $400 or more: 0.5%
We also asked respondents if they have ever chosen to avoid or delay a medical procedure because of the expense, even though they have Medicare coverage.
- 81% responded “No”
- 19% responded “Yes”
Who Has a Private Medicare Plan?
Private insurance companies sell Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans and Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans. Medicare Supplement plans enhance Original Medicare (Parts A and B) by covering out-of-pocket expenses that Original Medicare doesn’t pay for. Medicare Advantage plans offer the same coverage as Original Medicare, and they may include additional coverage for prescription drugs, and vision, dental, and hearing care. But you can’t have a Medicare Supplement plan in addition to a Medicare Advantage plan. Our respondents have these private Medicare plans:
- 45% are enrolled in a Medicare Supplement plan
- 26% are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan
- 20% of respondents don’t have a Medicare Supplement or a Medicare Advantage plan
- 9% of respondents are unsure if they have a Medicare Supplement or a Medicare Advantage plan
How many of the respondents know about Medicare Supplement plans?
- 97% have heard of Medicare Supplement plans
- 3% haven’t heard of Medicare Supplement plans
Of the respondents who aren’t enrolled in a Medicare Supplement plan, how many would consider enrolling?
- 43% would consider it
- 57% haven’t considered it
Who Wants Universal Medicare-for-All Coverage?
Half of our respondents are in favor of Medicare-for-All. This proposed single-payer form of insurance would offer universal healthcare to everyone — regardless of demographic or age bracket — at a price that’s accessible.
- 50% are in favor of Medicare-for-All
- 28% are unsure about Medicare-for-All
- 22% are against Medicare-for-All
How Much Income Tax Would We Pay for Medicare-for-All?
Here’s how much respondents who are interested in or unsure about Medicare-for-All would be willing to raise federal income taxes to fund the program:
- Less than 1% tax increase: 48.5%
- 1% to 1.9% tax increase: 21.5%
- 2% to 2.9% tax increase: 18%
- 3% to 3.9% tax increase: 4%
- 4% or more tax increase: 8%
How Common Are Medicare Scamming Threats?
We polled our respondents on whether they had ever been contacted by a phone scammer who was trying to commit Medicare ID card fraud by requesting payment for a new card.
- 94% haven’t been contacted by a phone scammer
- 4% have been contacted by a phone scammer
- 2% aren’t sure if they’ve ever been contacted by a phone scammer
We also expanded the question to include other types of scams associated with Medicare coverage—anything that involved disclosing personal information or participating in a fraudulent transaction.
- 97% have never been scammed
- 1% have been victims of Medicare scamming
- 2% aren’t sure if they’ve ever been scammed