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Seniors Have Concerns About Affording Health Insurance

MONDAY, Feb. 10, 2020 — Many adults aged 50 to 64 years are concerned about their ability to afford health insurance, according to a study published online Feb. 7 in JAMA Network Open.

Renuka Tipirneni, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional online survey study of 1,028 U.S. adults aged 50 to 64 years to understand perspectives on health insurance, health care, and employment near retirement.

The researchers found that 27.4 and 44.6 percent of respondents had little to no confidence in being able to afford health insurance over the next year and when they retire, respectively. Overall, 14.1 and 11.4 percent reported keeping a job and delaying or considering delaying retirement to have employer-sponsored health insurance, respectively. Two-thirds of respondents (67.7 percent) were very or somewhat concerned about potential changes to their health insurance associated with federal policy changes. In the past year, 13.2 and 11.9 percent of respondents, respectively, did not get medical care and avoided filling a prescription because of cost. Compared to those with higher confidence, individuals with low confidence in health insurance affordability during the next year or retirement were significantly more likely to avoid medical care and avoid filling a prescription medication (adjusted odds ratios, 2.89 and 2.87, respectively).

“Policymakers should work to ensure the stability and affordability of health insurance for vulnerable adults on the verge of retirement,” a coauthor said in a statement.

One author disclosed financial ties to the health care industry.

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