How confident are older Americans about their prospects for staying healthy and aging well? And what can be done to help older Americans and their caregivers make optimal use of their health benefits?
These are two of the primary questions that Anthem and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) addressed in a recent national Harris Poll survey1 of 1,038 older Americans ages 60+ and their caregivers.
The survey found that a majority of older Americans (79%) believe that they are prepared to age well, and more than eight in ten (88%) older adults are confident that they can find a provider who accepts their health insurance.
However, the poll identified a strong need to help older Americans better navigate the healthcare system. Fifty-nine percent of older adults surveyed reported finding some things difficult when navigating the healthcare system, such as:
- Understanding their bill/benefits
- Understanding their diagnosis and deciding on treatment
- Communicating effectively with providers
Nearly half (42%) of older Americans believe that they would be better equipped to manage their health if they had a better understanding of their benefits. Non-retired adults, in particular, need more help understanding their benefits, with more than three in five (61%) acknowledging they would like to work with a Medicare education counselor. And women ages 60+ reported greater challenges than men in managing their care (65% vs. 52%).
Caregivers Need Support Too
A complementary Harris Poll survey of 770 U.S. adult caregivers2 also identified a strong need for more resources and support. Nearly eight in ten caregivers (79%) believe that they would be better able to help their care recipient manage their health if they better understood the recipient’s benefits.
The caregivers who were surveyed identified several options that would help them better navigate the healthcare system on behalf of individuals they care for, including:
- Talking to doctors
- Consulting directly with the individual’s health insurance provider
- Reading reviews and accessing self-help tools
Where to Find Help
Helping older Americans and their caregivers get the support they need is a responsibility that Anthem and n4a take seriously. Our goal is to simplify the healthcare experience so that members and caregivers can feel confident navigating their benefits.
Materials such as the Medicare Notebook have been designed to help Medicare-eligible individuals, their loved ones and caregivers better understand Medicare and the health insurance options available. Anthem’s affiliated health plans utilize case managers and other associates to help consumers use health plan services, such as wellness programs, to improve their health and well-being.
As trusted sources for answers on aging, Anthem and n4a know how important it is to engage older adults and help remove barriers in accessing and understanding the healthcare information they need and deserve.
1 All cited statistics are approximates based on rounded numbers from survey results.
2Adults ages 18+ who provide support or counsel related to healthcare decisions to someone in their life who is currently eligible for Medicare, i.e., aged 65 or older, or under 65 and also receiving Social Security Disability Insurance.