The Value of Experience: Differences in Knowledge Among Medicare Beneficiaries

Sing, Merrile; Stevens, Beth
September 2005
Inquiry (00469580);Fall2005, Vol. 42 Issue 3, p266
Academic Journal
The Medicare Advantage program gives Medicare beneficiaries the opportunity to choose from an array of insurance options instead of receiving prescribed benefits. In 2006, beneficiaries who want prescription drug benefits will need to enroll in a Medicare managed care plan or a private prescription drug plan. To examine awareness and use of Medicare information programs, and the extent to which these programs are associated with beneficiary knowledge about Medicare and managed care, we conducted a national survey of Medicare beneficiaries six to 12 months after the nationwide mailing of the Medicare & You 2000 handbook. Beneficiary information-gathering behavior and experience with Medicare managed care were more highly associated with knowledge about Medicare managed care than formal education, age, income, or membership in a managed care plan before enrolling in Medicare. Practical life experience appears to outweigh traditional factors in beneficiary knowledge of Medicare and managed care.


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