CMS Survey Data Illustrates Impact of COVID-19 on Medicare Beneficiaries’ Daily Life/Experiences

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

CMS released data last week showing that 21% of Medicare beneficiaries report forgoing non-coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) care due to the pandemic, and nearly all – 98% – of beneficiaries have taken preventative measures to keep themselves safe from the virus.

According to the survey, the most common type of forgone care because of the pandemic was dental care (43%), followed by regular check-up (36%), treatment for ongoing condition (36%), and diagnostic or medical screening test (32%).  The most common reason cited for forgoing care was not wanting to risk being at a medical facility (45%).

Regarding COVID-19 preventative health behaviors, nearly all beneficiaries cited at least one or more actions they have taken to protect themselves, with regular handwashing/hand sanitizer use topping the list (98%), followed by social distancing and wearing facemasks (each at 93%).

In addition to forgone care and preventative health behaviors, the survey asked about the impact of the pandemic on daily life and well-being, availability of telemedicine appointments, access to technology, and sources of information about the pandemic.

An infographic with a snapshot of the survey results is here. A link to the public use file detailing the survey results is here.

The data comes from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) COVID-19 Summer 2020 Supplement, a nationally representative, cross-sectional telephone survey of 11,114 Medicare beneficiaries administered from June 10, 2020 through July 15, 2020. This data collection was a supplement to the MCBS annual data collection sponsored by CMS and directed by the Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics (OEDA).

The good news is the very high percentage of Medicare beneficiaries that have/are taking preventative measures to avoid exposure to the coronavirus.  If only younger American citizens could be just as careful!  Of some concern to PAC entities is that 21% of the older population have delayed or avoided  dental and medical care during this pandemic.