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83 percent of Medicare beneficiaries want caps on drug costs to secure Medicare's future

Their concerns may impact their vote, as the annual enrollment period overlaps with the midterm elections taking place on Tuesday.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

In a year when Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period overlaps nationwide with midterm elections, 83 percent of Medicare beneficiaries believe the best way to ensure the future of the program is to place limits on prescription drug costs, according to survey results from eHealth.

IMPACT

Medicare beneficiaries' concerns may impact their vote. A combined total of 87 percent of all respondents said that healthcare/insurance was either their number one issue or at least a top three issue when it comes to voting in the midterm election.

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Most of those respondents think Medicare is in trouble. In fact, 56 percent said they don't believe the Medicare program will survive their own generation; another 26 percent only expect it to survive another generation or two.

Fewer than one-third support a broad expansion of Medicare, though 31 percent of respondents believe that all Americans should have access to Medicare-like coverage.

The findings are based on an August survey of Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older who purchased a Medicare insurance product through one of eHealth's websites. A total of 1,020 anonymous beneficiaries participated.

THE TREND

A recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found 71 percent of voters considered healthcare a "very important" issue, and Florida and Nevada residents in particular are keen on candidates that have pledged to protect coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Democrats have apparently noticed that healthcare remains a major issue, and have spent about half of their political advertising on healthcare-centric advertising, according to an analysis from Protect Our Care.

THEIR TAKE

"Our survey shows that Medicare beneficiaries have specific ideas about what needs to be done to save Medicare, and they're bringing their concerns with them to the voting booth," said eHealth CEO Scott Flanders. "Elected officials should listen carefully, because Medicare beneficiaries are particularly motivated voters: 71 percent of people age 65 and older voted in 2016, compared to only 46 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29."
 

Twitter: @JELagasse

Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com