Medicare Decisions More Likely Made by Men: Survey

Updated on: June 14th, 2021

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Key findings

Among Medicare recipients 65 and older, men (76%) are more likely than women (73%) to be the primary decision maker when enrolling in a Medicare Supplement or Advantage plan.

Among 65-74 year old recipients, 47% have Medicare Supplement and 37% have Medicare Advantage; among 75-84 year olds, 53% have Medicare Supplement and only 33% have Medicare Advantage.

Medicare Supplement (with Original Medicare) is most popular among Americans recipients aged 65+ in the Midwest (59%), followed by the Northeast (52%), South (48%) and West (40%).

Medicare Advantage is most popular in the West (43%), followed by the South (36%), Northeast (32%) and Midwest (30%).

Men are both more likely than women to rate highly their understanding of Medicare health plans, and more likely to find it easier to enroll.

That’s according to a new survey by MedicareGuide.com.

We polled 1,010 U.S. adults aged 65 and over with Medicare plans to learn which plan they enrolled in, and how they selected their plan.

Male respondents were more likely than female respondents to enroll by themselves, express understanding of, and say it’s easy to enroll in Medicare health plans. 

Men (76%) are more likely than women (73%) to describe themselves as the primary decision-maker when enrolling in a Medicare Supplement or Advantage plan.

Men (34%) are also more likely than women (30%) to enroll in a plan themselves. Women, by a 45% to 43% margin, are more likely to have been enrolled by an agent.

On comprehension, men (42%) are more likely than women (32%) to say they understand Medicare Supplement plans very well.

Men (34%) are also more likely than women (31%) to say they understand Medicare Advantage plans very well.

On ease of enrollment, men (53%) are more likely than women (43%) to say it’s very easy to enroll in Medicare Supplement.

Men (63%) are also more likely than women (55%) to say it’s very easy to enroll in Medicare Advantage.

Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage Well Understood by Elderly Americans

Large majorities of both younger and older Medicare plan enrollees expressed good comprehension of Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage.

Understand Medicare Supplement either very or somewhat well.

  • 79% of respondents aged 65-74
  • 73% of respondents aged 75-84

Understand Medicare Advantage either very or somewhat well.

  • 72% of respondents aged 65-74
  • 68% of respondents aged 75-84

Asked about the enrollment process, 77% of those aged 65-74 and 78% of respondents said enrolling in Medicare Supplement was either somewhat or very easy. 

An even greater 83% of those aged 65-74 and 86% of respondents 75-84 said enrolling in Medicare Advantage was either somewhat or very easy.

Younger respondents more likely to use, trust agents

Licensed insurance agents were the top source of information and second most trusted source of information Americans aged 65 and older turned to when making Medicare decisions. 

But the survey also found that the younger the respondent, the more likely they were to both use and trust agents. 

31% of those aged 65-74 said they used an agent a great deal, compared to 23% of those aged 75-84. 

23% of those aged 65-74 said they trusted an agent a great deal, compared to 16% of those aged 75-84. 

Medicare Plans’ Popularity Varies by Region

When it comes to Medicare health plans, Medicare Supplement (with Original Medicare) is most popular among Americans recipients aged 65+ in the Midwest (59%), while Medicare Advantage is most popular in the West (43%).

Medicare enrollment largely follows three basic patterns: Original Medicare only, Original Medicare topped with a Medicare Supplement plan, and Medicare Advantage. 

Original Medicare consists of Part A (inpatient) and Part B (outpatient). Part C represents private Medicare Advantage plans, while Medicare Supplement plans (also called Medigap) fill coverage gaps in Original Medicare. 

Our survey found that aged 65 and over residents in states like California in the West (17%), Florida in the South (16%) and New York in the Northeast (16%) are more likely to have Original Medicare only, compared to just 11% of Midwesterners. 

Conversely, residents of states such as Illinois in the Midwest (59%) are most likely to have Original Medicare with Medicare Supplement, followed by the Northeast (52%), South (48%) and West (40%).

On the other hand, Medicare Advantage plans have the most enrollees in the West, at 43% of enrollees. The West is followed by the South (36%), Northeast (32%) and Midwest (30%).

Methodology

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,010 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between February 12 –17, 2021.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 65+) with Medicare.



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