Many Medicare patients want to communicate more online with their providers, but it seems not all health plans that administrate Medicare are listening, says a new survey from HealthMine.

Many Medicare patients want to communicate more online with their providers, but it seems not all health plans that administrate Medicare are listening, says a new survey from HealthMine.

In a new survey of 781 Medicare patients ages 65 to 76 and over, about 50% of all Medicare patients prefer to communicate electronically with their health plan, hospital and other providers. For example, 50% of Medicare patients 65 to 70 prefer digital communications with their health plan, compared with 47% of patients 71 to 75 and 43% over 76.

Plans are not quite keeping pace with the digital demand.

But it seems the older patients are, the fewer digital communications they receive from their health plan, says HealthMine, a provider of healthcare data analytics and healthcare improvement platform technology. Only 38% of Medicare patients 65 to 70 received electronic communications from their health plan, HealthMine says.

Older Medicare patients had even fewer digital dealings—only 34% of patients 71 to 75 and just 30% for patients age 76 and up. “With more than 10,000 individuals aging into Medicare daily, the growth trend for digital communication is here to stay,” says HealthMine CEO Bryce Williams. “Our survey shows that plans are not quite keeping pace with the digital demand.”

Other survey results include:

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• Only 4% of health plans communicate information collected from digital health tools with Medicare patients.

• At 47% and 29%, respectively, actions to improve health and bills are the most frequent messages health plans communicate with Medicare parents.

• Only 24% of Medicare patients list mail as their preferred means of hearing from their health plan.

“It is clearly important that Medicare Advantage plans meet beneficiaries on their terms and cater to preferences,” Williams says. “Through better communications, plan members can be incented to take health actions that improve their clinical outcomes.”

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