Over-65 Population Cites Cost as Top Health Care Concern

July 25, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Almost half (49%) of the over-65 population surveyed by Erickson Health indicated their biggest health care worry is the cost.

According to an Erickson Health press release, other major health care worries cited by respondents included:

  • losing independence (41%),
  • future changes in Medicare (38%),
  • wellness (36%), and
  • having to go to a nursing home (33%).

When asked what was most important to them, the vast majority of respondents said being independent (92%), financially stable (91%), and keeping active (90%), the release said. Just over 80% gave similar importance ratings for staying physically fit (85%); being with family (83%); having easy access to health care (83%); and being able to get health care appointments when they need them (83%).

The survey found geographical and age variances in individuals who feel responsible for their own health care. Respondents in Denver (84%), Phoenix (84%), and Charlotte (81%) were more likely to say they are responsible for their own health than those living in Boston (74%). Eighty-eight percent of 65-69 year-olds; 82% of those 70-74 years old; and 72% of those 75 years of age or older said they are responsible for their own health.

Other survey findings included:

  • Roughly one in ten of those interviewed say their health, age, and/or financial situation interferes with their ability to accomplish the things they wish to do.
  • The majority of those interviewed are satisfied with their current primary care doctor, with 82% giving their doctor positive ratings overall.
  • Doctors are the number one source for getting health information for those interviewed. Family members and the Internet are close seconds, with more than one third of those interviewed using these sources.
  • Those interviewed said they are generally in good overall health (83%). Specifically, the majority of those interviewed (80%) say their health has remained about the same over the past six months. Only 15% say they are in fair or poor health; this was mostly in the over age 75 group who were also the most likely to say their health is worse now than it was six months ago. One-third of those interviewed say they have one chronic condition for which they are currently being treated, while another 22% say they have two conditions; and approximately a fourth of those interviewed are not being treated for any chronic conditions.

Erickson interviewed 2,007 individuals over age 65 in Boston , Chicago, Charlotte, Denver, and Phoenix.