Survey: 70% of Retirees Reevaluated Their Private Medicare Plans for 2014

January 14, 2014

In a survey of 682 retirees who have Medicare supplemental plans purchased on the Extend Health private Medicare exchange, 70% reported that during the open enrollment period for 2014 they reevaluated their current plans. When asked why, the top reason by far was, “I just wanted to confirm that I have the best coverage” (63%). Another 22% cited premium increases as the reason they reevaluated.

Extend Health fielded the survey from December 8-10, 2013. The annual open enrollment period for the plan year 2014 ended December 7th.

Even though more than two-thirds of plan holders reevaluated their coverage, just 29% reported that after doing so, they either replaced or dropped one or more of their plans. The remaining 71% took no action and allowed their existing plans to automatically renew.

The percentage of retirees reevaluating their plans each year has increased since the last time we asked the question, while the percentage who replace or drop their plans has remained statistically the same. In a similar survey fielded by Extend Health two years ago, in December 2011 for the plan year 2012, 63% of respondents reported that they had reevaluated their plans and 31% said that after doing so they made changes.

These findings suggest that retirees purchasing plans on our exchanges are not taking their existing coverage for granted and are taking action to ensure that they coverage they have is right for them.

Questions and detailed responses from the survey are as follows:

During the annual open enrollment period for 2014, did you actively review and/or reevaluate your existing plans?

Yes 69.9%
No 30.1%

What was the most important reason prompting you to reevaluate your existing plans?

I just wanted to confirm that I have the best coverage 63.4%
My premiums increased 22.4%
My out-of-pocket expenses increased 5.2%
My current plan was no longer offered 3.8%
My benefits changed 2.4%
My prescription drugs changed 2.0%
My health status changed 0.8%

After reevaluating your existing plans, what action did you take?

I let my plans automatically renew 71.1%
I replaced one or more existing plans 28.1%
I dropped one or more of existing plans without replacing them 0.7%

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