Seniors Who Discuss Medicare With Advisors Are Better Off: Survey

Less than a third say they have such discussions

(Photo: AP) (Photo: AP)

A new national survey of seniors has found that fewer than one-third (28%) of those who use an advisor say they discuss Medicare plans. That is likely a mistake; of those seniors who reported they do discuss Medicare with their advisor, 79% reported their advisor was “knowledgeable or extremely knowledgeable” about the federal insurance program.

The information was released as part of a larger survey of seniors who are enrolled in Medicare. The study, the Allsup Medicare Advisor® Seniors Survey: Seniors with Financial Planners, was commissioned by Allsup and conducted by Richard Day Research, a Market Probe company based in Evanston, Ill.

Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers.

The study also found that although 71% of seniors with financial advisors said they will review their income and expenses in the next 12 months, only 58% plan to review their health care needs during that time. However, the study notes that Medicare’s annual enrollment season, when all seniors can change plans for 2013, begins Oct. 15 and lasts through Dec. 7.

Mary Dale Walters, senior vice president of the Allsup Medicare Advisor, a Medicare plan selection service for Medicare-eligible individuals, noted in a statement that Allsup’s survey of seniors with advisors “found that while only a small number discuss Medicare with their advisors, three of their five major concerns relate to health care and Medicare.”

The top concerns cited by respondents were of Medicare’s future (60%), having enough money in retirement (53%), paying for long-term care (44%),  paying for health care (41%)  and outliving their money (40%).

“Financial and retirement planning professionals have a tremendous opportunity to assist their senior clients with Medicare plans and healthcare choices by helping them realize and prepare for the cost-related results of their decisions,” Walters added.

The survey found that seniors with advisors are more likely to save specifically for health care expenses than seniors without advisors, 41% vs. 27%, and are more confident in their health care savings, 70% vs. 58%. Of 1,000 seniors surveyed across the country, one-third reported using a financial planning professional for retirement planning.

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