Medicare Beneficiaries Support Expanded Public Insurance

Survey reveals attitudes about Medicare-for-All, Medicare at 60 and a public option

Published Sep. 3, 2020

 

Medicare beneficiaries like their coverage so much, they want to share it with others. 

That was just one of the sentiments shared in our survey about Medicare expansion. 

When Bernie Sanders bowed out of the Democratic race, so too did discussions of Medicare For All. Now, those talks have shifted toward Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s version of Medicare reform.

So how do current Medicare beneficiaries feel about Biden’s proposals? And how does that compare to their opinions about Medicare For All? We surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults ages 65 and up to find out. 

Lowering the Medicare Eligibility Age

Biden proposes lowering the eligibility age of Medicare from 65 years old to 60.

Two out of every three Medicare beneficiaries we surveyed agreed that Medicare’s eligibility age should be lowered to 60. Just 14% disagreed. 

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Graphic showing percentage of Medicare beneficiaries who support Medicare at age 60

Adding a Public Health Insurance Option

Another Biden proposal is to offer a government-run health insurance plan. Americans can choose to enroll in this public option if they wish, or they can choose to remain in their employer-sponsored plan or another plan of their choosing. 

Seven out of 10 respondents support a government-run health insurance plan as an additional option to the private market. Only 12% disagreed. 

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Graphic showing percentage of Medicare beneficiaries who support a public health insurance option

Younger beneficiaries were slightly more likely to support this proposal, with 71% of respondents ages 65-69 being in favor of a public option and 10% in disagreement. Among those ages 70 and older, 64% were in favor and 20% disagreed. 

Eliminating Private Insurance

While not part of Biden’s plan, some Democratic candidates’ versions of Medicare For All called for the elimination of private health insurance altogether.  

More than half of our respondents agreed that private health insurance should be eliminated and replaced with government-sponsored insurance. Only 23% disagreed. 

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Graphic showing percentage of Medicare beneficiaries who support Medicare for All

That idea was favored more by younger Medicare beneficiaries. Of those ages 65-69, a full 62% supported the proposal. Among those 70 and up, only 37% were in support. 

Conclusion

The majority of Medicare beneficiaries are in support of lowering the eligibility age in order to welcome more Americans into the Medicare program. And the majority of Medicare beneficiaries support the idea of offering a similar type of government-run health insurance to the general public as an additional option. 

However, while still more than half of Medicare beneficiaries are in agreement that private health insurance should be eliminated entirely, support of that proposal is not as strong when compared to keeping private insurance intact and merely adding public health insurance as an additional option. 

Methodology

This survey was conducted August 17-19 2020, using an audience pool of 1,000 respondents.

Participants were filtered based on completion time and failure to follow written instructions within the survey.

Margin of error: +/- 4% (95% confidence interval)

This survey relies on self-reported data.

Fair Use Statement

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