Seniors believe Medicare needs overhaul but still feel entitled to current benefits

A recent survey from eHealth, an independent Medicare insurance adviser, released new data that shows 84% of respondents believe Medicare needs reform, but just 12% think changes should impact their current coverage.

While concerned about the long-term viability of the program, which could begin running a deficit in several years, most of those surveyed agreed to pass responsibility onto future generations, as 46% of people think younger generations should pay more or accept reduced benefits.

By 2031, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services projects Medicare will not be able to cover benefits for its enrollees. When asked whether they’d be willing to see benefits reduced or costs increased to ensure Medicare’s future, 22% were not sure and 59% flatly responded, “No.”

Despite a consensus that Medicare needs to be changed to ensure its future sustainability, respondents did not agree on the best way to reform the program. The most popular response (47%) said payroll contributions should be increased, followed by raising the eligibility age for future beneficiaries (21%). Forty percent said none of the solutions presented to them were acceptable.

Concern about Medicare is bipartisan. Around three-quarters of Democrat and Republican voters worry about Medicare, but Republican voters are much harsher with the government’s leadership on the issue. Nearly two-thirds of Republican voters give the federal government a failing grade, while nearly three-quarters of Democratic voters give the government a passing grade.

Unsurprisingly, respondents were more concerned about Medicare’s future if they make less than $25,000 per year versus a person who makes more than $100,000 per year. However, 40% of people wish they’d had a stronger understanding of Medicare when they first enrolled.

The report was based on a survey of 3,582 beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare plans, eHealth said.