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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