In a recent survey by Harris Interactive (on behalf of RetireSafe and the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs [NANASP]), 81 percent of seniors who have Medicare coverage indicated that having to pay any more for Medicare benefits in the future would put either a heavy or serious financial burden on them, causing them to make tough sacrifices.

Sacrifices that seniors said they would have to make included:

  • Going to the doctor less (59 percent)
  • Postponing medical procedures or tests (58 percent)
  • Rationing medications (37 percent)
  • Failing to get prescriptions filled (20 percent)
  • Returning to work to cover additional costs (18 percent)
  • Discontinuing Part D coverage (12 percent)

"As Congress considers legislation on the debt ceiling, these concerns of seniors should factor into what they decide on the future of Medicare," said Robert B. Blancato, NANASP's executive director, in a statement. "It is not shared sacrifice when seniors are forced to choose between maintaining their health and gambling with it by not doing regular doctor visits or getting required tests."

When asked whether they would support or oppose changing Medicare coverage in order to reduce the federal budget deficit, 79 percent of seniors said that they oppose changes. Only 10 percent of women aged 65 and older support the idea of changing Medicare to reduce the deficit.

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