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Elderly Medicare beneficiaries give their coverage higher ratings than do those with ESI

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Elderly Medicare beneficiaries are more satisfied with their health care, and experience fewer problems accessing and paying for care, than Americans with employer-sponsored insurance (ESI), according to a study by Commonwealth Fund researchers.

Results from this study show that, in important ways, Medicare serves the elderly more effectively than employer-sponsored coverage serves its enrollees. If given the opportunity, many adults under age 65 would likely select a public health insurance option. The authors state that the favorable ratings given Medicare by beneficiaries suggest that they are fundamentally more satisfied with their coverage relative to those with ESI. Thirty-seven percent of elderly Medicare beneficiaries rated their coverage as excellent, versus 20 percent of the employer group. Meanwhile, only 8 percent of elderly Medicare beneficiaries rated their insurance as “fair” or “poor,” compared with 18 percent of those with ESI.

The study is based on data from the Commonwealth Fund 2007 Biennial Health Insurance Survey, a nationally representative survey of 3,501 adults age 19 and older conducted between June 4 and October 24, 2007. The gap between consumers’ ratings of Medicare and ESI has widened since a similar survey in 2001.

Full paper by Davis and coauthors at:
http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/abstract/hlthaff.28.4.w521

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