Some Boomers Edgy on Health Care Costs

Health care costs are daunting to nearly a fifth of the
people who took part in a recent AARP survey.

The telephone survey, conducted in November by Woelfel Research, included
1,001 U.S. adults age 45 and older. All but 10% of them have health insurance,
either from their employer, their spouse's employer, private insurance, or Medicare .

One survey question was, "How confident are you that you will be able to
afford medical care next year?"

Most people -- 81% -- said they were at least somewhat confident. That
leaves the remaining 19% unsure that they will be able to foot their health
care bills in 2009. Here are the details:

  • Extremely confident: 26%

  • Very confident: 33%

  • Somewhat confident: 22%

  • Not very confident: 9%

  • Not at all confident: 10%

People age 65 and older (and thus eligible for Medicare) were especially
confident that they'll be able to afford health care next year. People earning
less than $30,000 per year were least confident about being able to
pay for healthcare .

Likewise, when asked specifically about affording prescription drug costs
next year, most people -- 83% -- were at least somewhat confident. But 9% were
not very confident and 8% were not at all confident that they could afford
their prescription drugs . Most participants reported spending up to $200
per month for up to six prescription drugs in 2008.


Taking Action

Survey participants were also asked what they had done to try to contain
their health care costs.

  • 58% said that when a doctor prescribes a new drug, they always ask if
    there's a generic equivalent.

  • 62% said they always pick the generic version, if one is available.

  • 49% said they've asked their doctor if there are things they can do (such
    physical activity and
    diet change) to lower their number of medications.

  • 77% said they've never been prescribed a brand-name drug that they couldn't

  • 85% said they hadn't cut back on medications in the past year because of

The survey has a margin of error of three percentage points.

By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang
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