Survey Finds More Americans Want Medicare to Cover Dental, Vision and Hearing Aids Than Lower the Age of Eligibility From 65 To 60

It seems there’s not much Americans agree on these days. However, a large majority agree that Medicare should expand the coverage it offers.

We recently surveyed almost 1500 Americans and found a strong majority favor both expanding Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing aids as well as lowering the age of eligibility from 65 to 60.

Between those two, however, many more are in favor of having Medicare include dental, vision and hearing aids.

Adding Dental, Vision and Hearing Aid Coverage

We asked 1471 people “Would you be in favor of expanding Medicare to include coverage for things like vision care, dental care and hearing aids?”

The overwhelming response to this question was “Yes” with 73% of respondents being in favor of adding these services. This compares to only 10% who were not in favor. 17% of respondents had no opinion.

Lowering Eligibility Age From 65 to 60

While fewer people were in favor of lowering the age of eligibility compared to adding dental and vision, there was still a strong majority who supported the idea.

When asked “Would you be in favor of Medicare lowering the age of eligibility from 65 to 60?”, of the 1474 responses we received, 60% responded “Yes” while 19% responded “No” and 21% had no opinion.

Regarding the age question, perhaps it’s not surprising that the age of the respondent had a big effect on people’s answers.

Those already eligible for Medicare (respondents 65+) were evenly split between being in favor of lowering the age of eligibility. 36% were in favor of lowering the age to 60 from 65 and 36% were opposed to it. The remaining 28% had no opinion.

However, if you look at the age group of respondents closing in on Medicare eligibility age, those 50 – 64, a whopping 65% were in favor of lowering that age of eligibility compared to 18% who were opposed. 17% had no opinion.

What Respondents Had To Say

Many respondents weighed in with written comments about why they answered the way they did.

When we asked people why they were in favor of adding coverage for dental, vision and hearing aids, two clear themes emerged.

One was the belief that vision, dental and hearing aid are health/medical related issues. And since Medicare is health insurance it should cover everything that affects people’s health. The other was the concern that these services are very expensive and many seniors who need them can’t afford them.

As one respondent put it “These things will make people’s quality of life better, and many people go without these things or suffer from severe problems because Medicare doesn’t cover these issues.

The respondents who were not in favor of Medicare coverage for these services usually cited money as the reason why. Said one “Medicare is already stretched to the breaking point without adding more coverage.”

Money was also the main reason mentioned by those opposed to lowering the age requirement from 65 to 60. Another common theme was the concern that lowering the age of eligibility would make people want to retire sooner.

For those who were in favor of lowering the age of eligibility from 65 to 60, this response summed up the feelings of many…

Lowering the Medicare eligibility age would not only be life-changing for at least 23 million people, it would also be life-saving for so many people across America who would eventually be able to get the care they need and they deserve.”

Summary of the Survey Results

We surveyed nearly 1500 people in the United States for this survey. To gather the data, the survey was posted on mTurk and Google Surveys.

Here’s a rundown of the questions and the responses:

Question 1: Would you be in favor of Medicare lowering the age of eligibility from 65 to 60?

Yes: 883 (60%)

No: 278 (19%)

No Opinion: 313 (21%)

Total Responses: 1474

Question 2: Would you be in favor of expanding Medicare to include coverage for things like vision care, dental care and hearing aids?

Yes: 1073 (73%)

No: 146 (10%)

No Opinion: 252 (17%)

Total Responses: 1471

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately Medicare has become a touchy political issue. We purposely tried to phrase our questions for this survey in as neutral a way as possible to keep politics out of the survey as much as possible.

What we found here clearly shows that the great majority of Americans want to see Medicare expanded to include more services and cover more people.

However, if they only have a choice between one or the other, expanding the services Medicare offers to include dental, vision and hearing aids is the much more popular option.

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