This week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released an “early look” at the 2017 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) results, including preliminary estimates about the Medicare population. The MCBS targets the Medicare population that resides in “the community” and does not include individuals who live in a nursing facility.
Like previous years, the MCBS finds that most beneficiaries are satisfied with the quality of their health, ease of access, and cost. This reflects an overall satisfaction with the Medicare program—both Traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage. However, almost 11% indicated that they previously delayed care due to cost, and 16% reported dissatisfaction with the cost of their care, which shows that more can be done to ease the financial burden that people with Medicare face.
About 75% of beneficiaries reported good, very good, or excellent health, and only 20% reported worse health than last year at this time. However, almost 30% reported serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs, nearly 20% reported difficulty with mental tasks, and 11% reported serious difficulty with dressing and bathing. This reflects the need for expanded coverage of long-term supports and services in the home to assist people with these activities of daily living and support them in remaining in the community.
The early look breaks down demographic data for all responders to the survey, but it does not indicate whether the reports of satisfaction, health and disability vary based on age, sex, or ethnicity. Medicare Rights Center looks forward to the release of the full data set, and to its use in targeting Medicare changes to meet the needs of all beneficiaries.