Topics
More on Medicare & Medicaid

Medicare beneficiaries aren't confident in government COVID-19 response

Over half of beneficiaries said they have "low confidence" or "no confidence" in the government's pandemic response.

Mallory Hackett, Associate Editor

A new survey from eHealth has revealed that Medicare beneficiaries have less confidence in the government's coronavirus response now than they did earlier during the pandemic.

eHealth, an online insurance marketplace, compared results from national surveys taken in April and July of Medicare beneficiaries who use its services. In April, 2,914 beneficiaries responded; in July, the company received 2,761 responses.

The survey results show dramatic differences.

HIMSS20 Digital

Learn on-demand, earn credit, find products and solutions. Get Started >>

In July, 55% of beneficiaries said they have "low confidence" or "no confidence" in the government's pandemic response, compared to April when 35% said they felt the same.

In the July survey, 26% of respondents who identify as Republican voters expressed "high confidence" in the government's response, down from 58% in April. For Democratic voters, 42% said they have "no confidence" in the government's response, up from 19% in April.

Additionally, 40% of Medicare beneficiaries in July said that COVID-19 restrictions, including wearing masks and social distancing, aren't strong enough.

An increased percentage of respondents believe that more should be done to protect high risk individuals form COVID-19. In April, 52% said that there isn't enough being done to protect these groups, compared to 58% in July.

WHY THIS MATTERS

As COVID-19 continues to impact populations worldwide, differences between how countries are fairing are emerging.

Johns Hopkins University has tracked the outbreak data of the 10 most affected countries since the end of January. The most recent data shows the U.S. continues to have the most new cases.

On July 28, there were more than 61,000 new cases, which is about 17,000 more than the second most impacted country, India, and 21,000 more than Brazil.

The majority of Medicare beneficiaries are 65 and older, and are also at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

THE LARGER TREND

Medicare beneficiaries are not alone in asking for more to be done in response to COVID-19.

A group of industry groups asked Congress to provide an additional $100 billion in relief to front-line healthcare workers to offset staffing and equipment expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic

At a press conference last week, the American Hospital Association called for more Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding for the nation's hospitals, citing a projected $323 billion in losses industry-wide due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Healthcare organizations have been stepping in to help.

Last week, Humana announced it would be sending out more than one million at-home tests for patients who have put off going to the doctor because of the pandemic.

Health plans UnitedHealthcare and Anthem have each donated $12.3 million and $24 million respectively to community-based organizations with the hope of improving health outcomes at a local level.

Twitter: @HackettMallory
Email the writer: mhackett@himss.org