New research shows seniors want more health and well-being support from Medicare plans

A new survey by Welltok, the leading consumer health SaaS company, validated that today’s seniors are increasingly tech savvy, expect more from Medicare plans and strive for total well-being. With more than 60 million Americans projected to be covered by Medicare by 2020, it is critical for plans to understand and meet members’ individual needs in a meaningful way to attract, retain, and better manage this growing market. 

Welltok, which works with national and regional health plans, conducted a nationwide survey of 1,000 seniors age 65 and older to gather primary data on what seniors are looking for from their plans, how they want to be communicated with, and their health priorities. Key findings of the newly released survey include: 

  • Why seniors would switch plans: Nearly six in 10 seniors said they would consider switching their current Medicare Advantage (MA) plan in the near future. Low out-of-pocket costs, prescription drug coverage, and in-network access to providers were cited as primary factors that could influence a plan change. Seniors also say it is important for their insurance provider to offer programs and resources that address their total health and well-being. Yet, roughly half feel that their current plan is not offering relevant or personalized support. 
  • 65 is the new 45: Seniors want to stay healthy and active as they age–88 percent say they feel healthier than their parents’ generation and approximately four in five feel younger than their actual age. 
  • Seniors’ new definition of health: To improve quality of life, seniors are adopting a new definition of health, which includes all aspects of health (physical, social, emotional, and financial). They are most likely to say financial stability (94 percent), adequate sleep (91 percent), and positive relationships (90 percent) are most important for them to achieve and maintain. Managing stress, good nutrition and then maintaining an appropriate level of physical activity followed in importance. 
  • How to reach seniors: The way seniors communicate is changing and plans need to track and honor preferences to be successful. Email emerged as the top way that seniors want to communicate with their health plan, especially among MA members (52 percent), followed by phone (automated voice or live agent), and regular mail. There is also growing interest in connecting digitally, including text messaging.

“Seniors are the fastest growing population, and health plans will lose if they treat them as a homogenous population,” said April Gill, vice president market solutions for Welltok. “We analyze all types of data to understand and target seniors to drive health actions, including gathering insights and preferences directly from consumers themselves. Our Medicare acquisition and retentions solutions are designed to deliver the personalized experience that seniors not only want but expect from their plans.”

A full copy of the survey is available here.

About the study

These are the findings from an Ipsos poll conducted October 31–November 1, 2018 on behalf of Welltok. For the survey, a sample of 1,004 adults ages 65 and older from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online, in English. In order to qualify for the survey, seniors had to be covered by Medicare. This includes 503 adults who currently have an original Medicare plan (Parts A/B through government) and 501 adults who have an MA plan. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of ±3.5 percentage points for all respondents.