Older Americans Not Reviewing Medicare Plans, Missing Possible Savings

Data Journalist

Updated on November 25th, 2021

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MedicareGuide’s new survey offers an early snapshot of Open Enrollment Period 2022

Two in three older Americans didn’t review their Medicare plan.

Almost nine in ten didn’t change their plan.

Among those who reviewed plans, two out of three couldn’t find a better plan.

85% of those who found a cheaper plan saved between $0 and $50 annually.

Scroll down for survey details.

Open Enrollment Period Snapshot Survey 2022

Key Findings

88% of older Americans didn’t change their Medicare plan

67% couldn’t find a better plan

66% never changed plans 

85% of those who found a cheaper plan saved less than $50 annually

Many older Americans aren’t shopping around during the ongoing Medicare Open Enrollment Period. Even fewer are actually changing plans for 2022. 

Three weeks before enrollment ends, 67% of the Medicare aged population hadn’t reviewed their Medicare options, missing out on possible savings. 

An even larger number, 88%, hadn’t changed their Medicare plan.

MedicareGuide polled 2,283 Americans 65+ to gauge whether they’re changing plans during the Open Enrollment Period (OEP).

Among older Americans who reviewed their options but didn’t change plans, 67% said it was because they couldn’t find a better plan.

OEP 2022 runs from October 15th to December 7th.

Seeking Dental, Vision, Hearing Coverage

Among older Americans who reviewed their options, the largest percentage, 15%, wanted a plan covering dental, vision, and hearing services.

The second largest number, 13%, wanted better drug coverage.

Of those who found a cheaper plan, most (85%) saved less than $50 a year.

Sticking with Current Plan

Few older Americans switched from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, and an even smaller number made the reverse move. 

Just 11% switched from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage. 

The largest percentage of this group, 8%, cited better benefits.  

Only 5% of older Americans switched from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare.

Of those who did, the largest number, 3%, said it was for the ability to see any doctor.

Overall, 66% say they never changed Medicare plans.

The greatest number who did change, 18%, did so just once.

Changed Medicare plans

  • Once – 18%
  • Twice – 9%  
  • Three times – 4%
  • Four times – 1%
  • Five or more times – 1%

“Historically, most beneficiaries don’t change plans, but coverage and cost can change significantly year to year, especially now because of Covid,” notes Jeff Smedsrud, the cofounder of MedicareGuide’s parent company HealthCare.com.

“It is becoming easier to use online tools to review your plan and find potential savings. It pays to shop around.”

Meanwhile, 85% of older Americans didn’t change their prescription drug plan.

The largest percentage who did, 9%, said it was due to price.

Of those enrolling in Medicare, the largest number of respondents, 30%, enrolled themselves online. 

Methodology

MedicareGuide conducted this survey utilizing a SurveyMonkey Audience November 15-17, 2021, among a national sample of 2,283 U.S. adults aged 65+. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 2.0 percentage points. The sample was balanced for age, gender, and U.S. Region according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.



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