Study Looks at How Medicare Beneficiaries’ Familiarity With the Program Affects Their Access to Care
"Does Poorer Familiarity With Medicare Translate Into Worse Access to Health Care?" Journal of the American Geriatrics Society: Robert Morgan, a professor of management, policy and community health at the University of Texas School of Public Health, and colleagues surveyed 2,997 white, black and Hispanic Medicare beneficiaries. According to the study, about one-third of beneficiaries said they were unfamiliar or very unfamiliar with their Medicare benefits and blacks and Hispanics were more likely than whites to be unfamiliar with their Medicare benefits. Researchers also found that familiarity with Medicare benefits is lower among Medicare managed care plan beneficiaries, as well as those with lower incomes and education. Morgan said, "Beneficiaries' understanding of their health benefits ultimately may affect the quality and outcomes of their care. Well designed educational interventions or policies simplifying Medicare benefit programs could have a significant effect on beneficiaries' abilities to get needed care" (Wiley-Blackwell release, 11/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.