CHICAGO, May 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The dichotomy
between rural and urban healthcare is not going anywhere, but the
contrast of Medicare beneficiaries based on geography may be less
glaring than expected. A recent study examined access to health
care, Medicare satisfaction, and healthcare utilization. The data
revealed more resemblance than variance between older adults living
in urban and rural locations. GoHealth, Inc. (GoHealth)
(NASDAQ:GOCO), a leading health insurance marketplace and
Medicare-focused digital health company, commissioned a survey
across a nationally representative sample of 4,992 older adults
from March 18 to April 5, 2021. The
respondents were age 65 and older, U.S. residents, and currently
enrolled in Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage.
The data was segmented between rural and urban beneficiaries,
which was classified by zip code according to the Federal Office of
Rural Health Policy criteria. Fewer rural beneficiaries (33%) have
Medicare Advantage plans than urban respondents (42%). Still, 84%
of rural and 93% of urban beneficiaries are satisfied with the
distance to their doctor or provider.
We aimed to examine what we presumed would be distinct
differences between rural and urban groups, both in how they
receive care with Medicare coverage and their opinions on
"What we found, however, is that there were a
striking number of similarities across all groups we surveyed,"
said GoHealth's Chief Medical Officer, Paul
Hain, M.D. "But perhaps an even more valuable theme we found
throughout is that small changes in Medicare literacy and shared
decision making can produce significant improvements for large
groups of older adults, regardless of where they live."
The Big Picture: Behavior, Trust, Engagement, and
Older adults engage with their local healthcare
systems, with little statistical difference between rural and urban
populations. Among all Medicare beneficiaries,
- 75% consider themselves to be in "good health" or better
- 93% have a regular primary care doctor
- 90% see their doctor at least once a year
Surprisingly, among the same group, 45% say their doctor
considers them overweight.
Older adults trust their doctor for advice
regardless of geography or coverage. Across all Medicare
beneficiaries, when choosing a care provider, they most value the
opinion of another doctor.
- Medicare breakdown: 70% of Original Medicare and 69% of
Medicare Advantage beneficiaries most value a doctor's opinion
- Location breakdown: 70% of urban and 67% of rural
beneficiaries most value a doctor's opinion
Older adults are starting to use telehealth, but most
still are not taking advantage of the technology. Access exists for
both populations, with 85% of all Medicare beneficiaries able to
access video communications.
- 68% of rural beneficiaries (and 56% of urban) haven't used
video to access care
There are signs this is changing; 41% of all Medicare
beneficiaries used telehealth in the past year. Of those:
- 75% on Original Medicare and 79% on Medicare Advantage said it
was their first time using telehealth services
Knowing all Medicare options and how they
work impacts level of satisfaction with healthcare. Of
Original Medicare beneficiaries, 26% chose their plan over Medicare
Advantage because "I want to use the plan my taxes paid for." Yet,
Medicare provides funding to insurance carriers to administer
coverage of Medicare Advantage plans.
- In the past 24 months, 50% of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries
"shopped" plan options compared to 38% of Original Medicare
- When reporting their level of satisfaction with the plans
available to them, 54% of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries were
"very satisfied" compared to 45% of beneficiaries with Original
- Despite plan type, nearly 8 in 10 of all beneficiaries say they
have no problem finding a doctor that accepts their plan.
Medicare Advantage enrollment has doubled over the
last decade. Among rural and urban beneficiaries, their reasons for
choosing Medicare Advantage are value and coverage:
- 41% said, "Medicare Advantage offered better overall costs
(co-pays, deductibles, or co-insurance) than Original
- 34% said, "I wanted prescription drug coverage bundled under
one plan;" 31% said, "I wanted vision, dental and/or hearing
coverage under the same plan."
- 32% said, "I was able to get a Medicare Advantage plan with a
$0 monthly premium."
- 25% said, "I found a Medicare Advantage plan that included the
best coverage/cost for specific prescriptions that I need to
- 12% said, "I wanted a plan that capped my total medical costs
after I hit a certain deductible."
"It's fascinating to see that, despite these demographic
differences, many Medicare beneficiaries value the same things,"
said Hain. "It's easy to see the world around us in segmented ways,
but survey findings like these are beneficial to remind us that
we're not all that different. While individual health care is
deeply personal, it's vital to take a broader view and see that
even the smallest common improvements and advancements can benefit
wide groups of people."
About GoHealth, Inc.
As a leading health insurance
marketplace and Medicare-focused digital health company, GoHealth's
mission is to improve access to healthcare in America. Enrolling in
a health insurance plan can be confusing for customers, and the
seemingly small differences between plans can lead to significant
out-of-pocket costs or lack of access to critical medicines and
even providers. GoHealth combines cutting-edge technology, data
science and deep industry expertise to match customers with the
healthcare policy and carrier that is right for them. Since its
inception, GoHealth has enrolled millions of people in Medicare and
individual and family plans. For more information, visit
View original content to download
SOURCE GoHealth, Inc.