This Group Is Less Satisfied With Medicare Than Other Enrollees

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Vitalii Vodolazskyi /

By and large, Americans love Medicare. But one group of enrollees is a little less thrilled with the program.

The vast majority of people with Medicare for their health care coverage are 65 or older. But there is another, smaller group of Americans who enroll in the program before that age.

As we reported in “3 Groups Who Can Get Medicare Before Age 65,” these are younger folks who qualify for Medicare due to having a long-term disability, end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

In 2022, 7.7 million people under the age of 65 — or 12% of all Medicare recipients — fell into this category of coverage.

These are the people who are less happy with their Medicare coverage, according to responses from 3,600 adults in the latest annual KFF Survey of Consumer Experiences with Health Insurance.

While 92% of those over the age of 65 give positive marks to their Medicare coverage, that number dips to 79% for those under the age of 65 with disabilities.

KFF reports that people under the age of 65 who are on Medicare are more likely to report:

  • Worse access to care
  • More cost concerns
  • Lower satisfaction with care

Among beneficiaries under age 65 who have disabilities, 70% said they experienced some type of issue with their health insurance over the prior 12 months. Meanwhile, just 49% of those 65 and older report such problems.

According to a summary of the KFF findings:

“At least one in five Medicare beneficiaries under age 65 with disabilities who reported problems say they were unable to receive recommended treatment (24%) or experienced significant delays in receiving medical care or treatment (21%), compared to very small shares of those 65 or older who said the same (6% for both).”

Although Medicare offers the same benefits to everyone who is enrolled — regardless of age — KFF speculates that because Medicare was designed for older adults, it might not work as well for their younger counterparts.

Other factors also could be at play. For example, KFF notes that among people with Medicare under age 65 who have disabilities, about half said their physical health is “fair” or “poor.” Just 19% of those 65 and older said the same.

In addition, 3 in 10 people with Medicare under age 65 who have disabilities report “fair” or “poor” mental health status. Just 1 in 10 people age 65 and older say the same.

As KFF states in a summary of its findings:

“The higher rate of poorer self-reported health among beneficiaries under age 65 could contribute to a higher rate of health insurance problems.”

Regardless of what age you enroll in Medicare, it is important to understand the program’s limitations. For more, check out “Medicare Will Not Cover These 10 Medical Costs.”

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