What Do People with Medicare Think About the Role of Marketing, Shopping for Medicare Options, and Their Coverage?


The focus group participants included Medicare beneficiaries ages 65 and older and younger adults with disabilities who make health coverage decisions for themselves and/or their spouse or family member. Some focus groups also consisted of people with both Medicare and Medicaid (also referred to as dual-eligible individuals) as well as adults 64 years old who were not yet enrolled in Medicare. Participants included beneficiaries in traditional Medicare, some with and some without Medigap supplemental coverage, and beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. Because the study focused on decisions around health plans, we excluded beneficiaries with retiree coverage from a former employer or union.

We conducted 7 focus groups with participants from across the country in November 2022, timed to coincide with the Medicare open enrollment period, which starts October 15 and ends December 7 of each year. Each focus group was conducted virtually by Zoom and included 5-8 participants, differing by age, gender, income, race/ethnicity, health status, and type of insurance coverage. Each focus group lasted one hour and forty-five minutes. Two of the seven focus groups consisted of people with Medicare and Medicaid, with one group consisting of adults 65 and older, and the other group adults younger than 65. One focus group included adults 64 years old who were not yet enrolled in Medicare, but who were starting to think about their Medicare coverage options. One focus group was conducted in Spanish. Individuals who were able to participate in the groups needed to know their Medicare coverage, and if applicable, Medicaid coverage, have two hours of time, a quiet space, a computer, and internet. These characteristics alone may not fully represent many people with Medicare, so the perspectives described in this report may not be generalizable to the entire Medicare population. See Appendix Table 1 for demographic details about the participants.

The analysis includes responses from participants across all 7 focus groups. There are also additional responses from dual-eligible participants that emphasize beneficiary experiences unique to this population.


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