Closing the Medicare Information Gap with NMEWPosted by Medicare Made Clear
By Sandy Markwood, CEO of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a)
Next year one of our nation’s most popular health benefit programs turns 50. Medicare currently covers more than 52 million Americans, and with the unprecedented growth of the older adult population—about 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day—there will be a corresponding boom in the number of people eligible to receive Medicare benefits.
But research consistently shows that the people who most need to understand how the Medicare system works—existing beneficiaries and boomers on the verge of becoming eligible—are largely uninformed consumers of a benefit pivotal to their long-term health and quality of life.
A 2013 survey conducted by UnitedHealthcare found that most current beneficiaries could not correctly identify the health care expenses covered by Medicare Parts A, B, C and D. The information gap was even wider for boomer respondents, with 70 percent describing their understanding of Medicare as “fair” or “poor.” More than half of boomers surveyed said they “wouldn’t know where to begin” to transition from employer-sponsored health insurance to Medicare.
To help close the information gap, UnitedHealthcare created National Medicare Education Week (NMEW). Now in its third year, NMEW is celebrated with public education and outreach activities, including free educational events held in communities around the nation from September 15-21. This annual observance is held one month prior to Medicare Open Enrollment (October 15-December 7) to provide information and raise awareness of local resources, including the services provided by the network of Area Agencies on Aging serving virtually every community in the nation.
The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) is a proud supporter of National Medicare Education Week. Through our active participation, we play a role in helping millions of Americans navigate a health benefit program integral to their well-being. Please come and join us.
Learn more about National Medicare Education Week and how you can take part at a live event or online.
Views expressed are the opinion of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a).
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