Gen X, Y worry about Medicare's future

Concern about Medicare's future is no longer unique to current beneficiaries and older Americans. 

Millennials and Gen Xers are concerned that Medicare may not be available to them in the future, and are willing to pay more now if it means preserving this critical benefit, according to a survey published May 22 by eHealth, an online private health insurance marketplace.

Editor's note: Data is based on responses from more than 1,000 Americans ages 28 to 59, drawn from the general population. Those who indicated they were born between 1965 and 1979 are categorized as "Gen Xers," while those born between 1980 and 1996 are categorized as "millennials." 

Seven key findings from the survey:

1. Almost all Gen Xers and millennials surveyed value what Medicare provides: 94% said they are entitled to coverage for their healthcare needs in retirement, while 67% said that access to quality, affordable healthcare will become "much more important" to them as they age.

2. However, many are not sure exactly what the Medicare program is: Only 30% of respondents (28% of millennials and 41% of Gen Xers) know that Medicare is a healthcare program primarily intended for people 65 and older.

3. Among those who know what Medicare is, 65% worry it will not be there for them and 56% do not trust elected officials to do what is necessary to preserve Medicare.

4. Seventy-eight percent of Gen Xers and millennials feel that baby boomers and earlier generations were fiscally irresponsible and are leaving younger generations to foot the bill.

5. Most would contribute more today if it helped guarantee the survival of Medicare: 84% would agree to increased payroll taxes if it ensured Medicare was there for them in the future.

6. Half of respondents (47%) say healthcare in general is their No. 1 voting issue this year; 78% say that Medicare specifically is among their top three voting issues.

7. Gen Xers and millennials largely approve of the U.S. healthcare system, which more than 75% of respondents described as either "good" or "excellent."

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