Boomers reveal ignorance about Medicare

The ’60s British rock band The Who created an anthem for baby boomers with its hit “My Generation” and its rebel yell: “I hope I die before I get old.”

While I’m sure most boomers would shrink from that sentiment as they approach their senior years, they’re not all that keen on preparing for the inevitable either, if a new survey is any indication.

More than half (56 percent) of America’s middle-income boomers admit to knowing little or almost nothing about Medicare and 13 percent falsely believe Medicare is free, according to a study released by the Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement. The study found that 72 percent of boomers did not know that most Americans on Medicare pay a monthly premium, co-pays and deductibles.

Also, two-thirds of boomers do not understand what their health insurance benefit will be for doctor visits and hospitalization once they are on Medicare. And 27 percent could not fathom how much they think they’ll pay for healthcare once on Medicare versus what they pay today.

And take note, LTC providers: Eight in 10 (86 percent) boomers under age 65 don’t know if Medicare covers long-term care or overestimate its long-term care coverage.

Boomers have been characterized as being in denial about aging and everything that goes along with it—including Medicare. I’m a boomer and you could lump me into that stereotype. If it weren’t for my position as a journalist who writes about Medicare and aging issues on a daily basis, I’d probably have my head buried in the sand, too. My excuse is I’m too busy working and dealing with kids and aging parents to contemplate the not-so-distant future. And in conversation with boomer friends and family, most are unable to differentiate Medicare and Medicaid, let alone know what age qualifies them for these cherished entitlements.

Still, the clock is ticking and aging rockers and boomers need to wake up and prepare for and get smart about their futures. I’m talkin’ ‘bout my g-g-generation.

Topics: Medicare/Medicaid