Seniors Unclear on Healthcare Reform Law

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media , July 27, 2010

"The survey calls out for more education about the subject [of Medicare and healthcare reform], which is obviously very complicated," Krane said. Among other findings in the survey are:

  • Only 24% of seniors knew that it is projected to extend the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund.
  • Only 28% knew that the law improves the availability of long?term care at home for seniors with disabilities.
  • Only 33% knew about the new, free yearly wellness visit Medicare will now provide.
  • Two out of three seniors either did not know (43%) or gave the wrong answer about the future growth of Medicare spending.

The seniors' highest rate of correct answers came on a question about whether the law expands coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans (43% correctly answered "yes"). Seniors also showed relatively high awareness of the provision to gradually close the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap, 42% gave the correct answer. 

James Firman, president and CEO of NCOA, announced on Monday the launch of NCOA's "Straight Talk for Seniors on Health Reform" campaign, which is aimed at helping seniors obtain the facts they need about healthcare reform and changes to Medicare.

"Seniors need to know the key facts about health reform so that they can be informed consumers and educated citizens," Firman says. The campaign will continue through the fall with additional town hall and educational events, a series of "Straight Talk" educational materials, and an interactive online "Straight Talk" quiz for people to test their knowledge of the law.

Janice Simmons is a senior editor and Washington, DC, correspondent for HealthLeaders Media Online. She can be reached at

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