Retirees’ Confidence in Social Security, Medicare Tumbles in 2018

An annual survey of retirees’ attitudes toward their retirement security found a bleaker outlook this year than in the past, revealing significant worries about the ability of Medicare and Social Security to cover their needs going forward.

As in past years, only about a third of older respondents in the Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) said they were “very confident” in their prospects for a comfortable retirement on the whole, while their outlooks for the near term had grown bleaker over time.

The proportion of those who said they were very or somewhat confident in their ability to pay for basic needs and medical expenses in 2018 fell from 85% in 2017 to 80% in 2018, while the confidence for medical expenses dropped from 77% to 70%.


“Health care expenses in retirement appear to be playing a notable role in retirees’ confidence,” report co-author Lisa Greenwald, executive vice president of market research company Greenwald & Associates, said in a statement announcing the results. “Half of retirees say they didn’t even try to calculate health expenses before retirement, and more than four in 10 retirees say their health care expenses are higher than they expected.”

Just 7% of the retired people surveyed for the annual report said they were “very confident” in receiving the same level of Social Security and Medicare benefits in the future, while the near-term confidence level in both of those government programs dropped between 2017 and 2018.

Greenwald & Associates produces the report in conjunction with the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a non-partisan think tank that explores savings and retirement issues. About 1,000 retirees participated in the survey, which was conducted in January.

Dive into the full results at the EBRI’s website.

Written by Alex Spanko

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  • How can most seniors feel confident social security will take care of their needs, unless they are living with their children cost free?

    Social security for all purposes has had NO increase in 3 years. The last puny increase did not even effect everyone on social security. Many found their increase offset by the medicare increase!

    A couple of years ago they had the audacity to blame no increase in social security on Gas price going up, absurd! How many seniors drive as much as those 18 years old to 60 years old, those that are working, playing, going to college ETC! We are not fools in the industry and for sure our seniors are not fools. We know what has taken place and I will not sit back in a corner and say nothing!

    In short, I doubt very much the statistics from the “Annual survey of retirees”! I feel those percentages are a lot lower, lower than many of us can imagine!

    The HECM can certainly play an important roll to improve the quality of the lives of the seniors referred to in this article.

    We are now hearing more and more that social security is being refer to as an entitlement, what a joke! Ask Jim Veale to give us all the facts and figures on what the average worker has paid into the fund and what they expect to get out of it? I think we will all be quit surprised, if many of us don’t know already!

    To ad fuel to the fire, in 1967, President Lyndon Johnson got congress to sign a bill allowing the government to borrow from the fund. My friends, they still borrow from it when ever they can!

    In fact, on the top floor of the White House, there is a large 20′ X 40′ room, filled with IOU’s, the door to the room is swelling and ready to break:) I am only kidding but I wouldn’t doubt it?

    Have a great weekend everyone,

    John A. Smaldone

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