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More Men Than Women Say They Understand Medicare Offerings: Poll

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What You Need to Know

  • A higher percentage of men than women said they understood Medicare Supplement and Advantage plans very well.
  • Insurance agents were the top information source for Americans 65 and older when making Medicare decisions.
  • Younger respondents were more likely to both use and trust agents.

When it comes to enrolling in a Medicare Supplement or Advantage plan, men are slightly more likely than women to make the decision, and to find the options comprehensible and the process easy to complete, according to a new poll from MedicareGuide.com. 

Medicare enrollment largely follows three basic patterns: Original Medicare only, Original Medicare topped with a Medicare Supplement plan and Medicare Advantage. This year’s Medicare Advantage open enrollment period ends March 31.

YouGov conducted the online poll in mid-February among 1,010 Medicare recipients 65 and older.  

Among respondents between 65 and 74 years old, 47% had Medicare Supplement and 37% had Medicare Advantage. Among those between 75 and 84, 53% had Medicare Supplement and only 33% had Medicare Advantage.

Seventy-six percent of men in the study described themselves as the main decision-maker when enrolling in a Supplement or Advantage plan, compared with 73% of women.

Men were also more likely than women to enroll in a plan themselves, whereas more women than men were enrolled by an agent.

Forty-two percent of men surveyed said they understood Medicare Supplement plans very well, while only 32% of women said the same. Likewise with Advantage plans: 34% of men versus 31% of women said they understood them very well.

As to ease of enrollment, 53% of men and 43% of women said its was very easy to enroll in Medicare Supplement, and 63% of men and 55% of women said Medicare Advantage enrollment was very easy.

Age and Enrollment

Large majorities of both younger and older Medicare plan enrollees expressed good comprehension of Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage.

Both older and younger enrollees also said enrollment in the plans was somewhat or very easy.

The poll found that licensed insurance agents were the top source of information and second most trusted source of information Americans 65 and older sought out when making Medicare decisions. 

But the younger the respondent, the more likely they were to both use and trust agents. 

Thirty-one percent of those in the 65-to-74 age group said they used an agent a great deal, compared with 23% of those 75 to 84. 

Twenty-three percent of younger respondents said they trusted an agent a great deal, versus 16% of older ones. 

(Photo: Adobe Stock)