March 13, 2018

National Study Reveals Seniors Are Nervous about Future of Their Health Care

ORANGE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–According to findings from a national study of 1,000 adults age 55+
released today by Alignment Healthcare (
and international research firm Toluna, the majority (59 percent) of
seniors are anxious about impending changes to their health care and
more than two-thirds (70 percent) are worried about the future of
Medicare and Medicaid. Approximately one in three is living with one or
more chronic diseases. Three out of four want better information to
improve their health, and they also want better technology to manage
their health and access to their physicians.

According to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services,
seniors are the most expensive health care population (at 13 percent of
population, they account for 34 percent of health care-related spending,
or three times more than working-age adults each year). As the most
regular users of health care services, they have significant concerns
and fears about how they will manage their health and health care costs.
They also have strong opinions about what they want and expect from
their physicians and their health plans.

“As a health care company and health plan dedicated solely to the senior
community, we help seniors address the challenges that come with
navigating and improving the state of their health every day,” said John
Kao, CEO of Alignment Healthcare. “That’s why our model of care is
disrupting the industry’s traditional standard of care delivery. Our
technology-enabled predictive capabilities, disease management programs
and concierge-like care put us at the forefront of solving senior health
care challenges.”


  • More than half of all seniors 60+ (54 percent) cite “cost” as their
    top health care concern with more than one in three worrying about how
    to pay for services, and one in 10 not retrieving prescriptions,
    getting a recommended test or procedure, or seeing the doctor due to
    inability to pay the co-payments.
  • Equal to concerns about managing health care costs, 54 percent of
    seniors worry about getting the right medical treatment if they get
    seriously ill, with the highest degree of worry in the Midwest (58
    percent) and among women (57 percent versus men at 51 percent).
  • More than two-thirds (70 percent) of adults 55+ are concerned about
    the future of Medicare and Medicaid. The most worried are
    55-59-year-olds – the next generation eligible for Medicare – at 76
    percent, compared to those 70+ at 66 percent.
  • Most of today’s seniors (59 percent) express worry, fear or anxiety
    over the future of senior health care based on changes underway or the
    government’s role in health care.


Twenty-eight percent of seniors say they live with one or more chronic
conditions, with the top five being high blood pressure (65 percent),
high cholesterol (55 percent), arthritis (53 percent), depression (32
percent) and diabetes (31 percent). Heart disease, the nation’s leading
cause of death according to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (1 in 4 deaths), was cited by one out of five (1 in 5)

Seniors cite seeing their doctor regularly, with approximately 66
percent seeing their doctors every six months or more frequently (33
percent go every six months and 33 percent go every 2-3 months).
However, seniors want more from those appointments. The time spent with
their doctor can be fewer than 10 minutes per visit, and the
appointments do not include the amount of information, treatment
options, advice on ways to get healthier, or plain language the senior
patient wants to take greater control of his or her health. More than
half (54 percent) of those surveyed stated that they want more time with
their doctor (which can equal less than 60 minutes a year even with 10
visits), with women (59 percent) wanting this more than men (49 percent).

The quality of interaction with their physician is also a priority for
seniors. They want more education about their conditions and how to
manage them, and they want it in easy-to-understand language:

  • 76 percent want more clear direction on how to improve their health
  • 63 percent want more education on how to care for a condition and
    treatment options
  • 60 percent want more understandable, everyday language than what they
    get today


An important factor for seniors is how to manage their health while
meeting their desire to age in place: 71 percent of those surveyed want
to remain in their homes as they age, with about a third never expecting
to engage the help of a caregiver and only 1 percent citing they get the
help of their adult children. They cite desire for same-day appointments
(approximately 30 percent) and other concierge-like services, such as
in-home doctor appointments, home monitoring, tech-enabled interface
with their doctors, complimentary transportation to their appointments,
and mail delivery of prescriptions as considerations.

Seniors believe technology will be key to advances in medicine. Eighty
percent of adults 55+ believe technology will improve health care in the
next five years by delivering faster and more accurate diagnoses, curing
diseases, and predicting and preventing diseases and conditions before
they happen.

But 35 percent of seniors feel their health plans do not use any
technology to improve access, information or care and want more
tech-enabled solutions. Top on their wish list are: ability to see a
doctor on demand (anywhere/anytime) via web-enabled devices, electronic
record keeping, monitoring technology that can look at one’s vitals or
even predict a negative outcome and intervene, and the ability to send
email messages and images to one’s doctor.


This national research study looked at the opinions of adults 55+. It
was fielded online Feb. 5-8, 2018, by Toluna and Alignment Healthcare.
Respondents included more than 1,000 seniors in three cohorts: 55-59,
60-69, and 70+. Statistic validity is at the 95 percent level.


Alignment Healthcare has created a new model for health care delivery
that cuts costs and improves lives by unraveling the inefficiencies of
the current system to drive patients, providers and payers toward a
common goal of wellness. Harnessing best practices from Medicare
Advantage, the company’s innovative data-management technology allows it
to commit to caring for seniors exclusively, with special emphasis on
treating the chronically ill and frail. With offices and care centers
across the country, Alignment Healthcare provides partners and patients
with customized care and service where they need it and when they need
it, including clinical coordination, risk management and technology
facilitation. Alignment Healthcare offers HMO plan options to California
residents through the Alignment Health Plan, and partners with select
health plans in North Carolina and Florida to help deliver better
benefits at lower costs. For more information, visit


Toluna is one of the world’s leading insights companies with one of the
largest online panels of 16+ million consumers. The company is
headquartered in Wilton, Conn., and serves clients around the globe
through offices in more than 61 countries.

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