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Press Release

American Baby Boomers Keeping Booming, According to National Survey from Independence Blue Cross

Philadelphia, PA - November 30, 2011 - As the first wave of the Baby Boom Generation accesses and selects Medicare options in 2011, Philadelphia, PA-based Independence Blue Cross (IBC) today issued the results of a new national survey aimed at better understanding the attitudes and actions of this group as they begin to make engaged decisions about their health care coverage.  To better know what motivates and concerns Baby Boomers, IBC commissioned an online survey, conducted by Harris Interactive®, which examined issues of health, wellness, and an evolving lifestyle while also providing insights into how older Americans now approach and prepare for retirement. IBC is one of the largest providers of Medicare products and services in the Philadelphia five-county area.

"Independence Blue Cross has provided comprehensive health care options since 1938, predating the post-war baby boom," said Daniel J. Hilferty, president and CEO of IBC. "In so many ways, IBC has been with these individuals during every step of their lives. As this influential generation becomes Medicare eligible, we want and need to know them better, especially on the cusp of health care reform, which will change the nature of health care for everybody. For IBC, this survey enabled us to learn more about this population, their daily lives, health habits, and activities as well as their plans for the future.  Health care needs to be a more personal business and this survey will help us provide plans that serve Boomers as well into retirement as we have served them through all other phases of their lives."

In its survey of Baby Boomers aged 55-67, IBC specifically examined how this generation views its health and wellness as compared to its parents' generation as well as its view on how upcoming health care reforms may impact them as they enter retirement and/or Medicare eligibility. 

Noteworthy national findings include:

  • Active lifestyles: A majority of those surveyed (56 percent) believed that they are much/somewhat more active than their parents were when their parents were their age while 17 percent consider themselves much/somewhat less active than their parents were at the same age.
  • Ideal weight: More than 75 percent of those surveyed believed that they needed to lose at least some weight to reach their ideal weight. Fifty-eight percent believe that they need to lose more than ten pounds to be at their ideal weight.
    • Midwest Boomers were more likely than those in any other region to feel this way, with 85 percent believing they needed to lose weight and 67 percent of them reporting that they needed to lose more than ten pounds.
    • Based upon such robust numbers, it would seem that programs and initiatives aimed at better nutrition could be valuable health care offerings to Baby Boomers across the United States.
  • Last physical exam: 70 percent of those surveyed nationwide have had a physical exam within the past year.  In contrast, 17 percent report that their most recent physical exam occurred one to two years ago, while 12 percent reported that their most recent physical exam was three or more years ago.
  • Understanding health care reform: Despite the wide availability of information on national health care reform, 39 percent of those surveyed were not sure how health care reform through the Affordable Care Act will personally affect them at age 65 and older.
    • Those aged 55-64 were significantly more likely than those aged 65-67 to respond "not sure" (42 percent vs. 28 percent, respectively).
  • Cost of health insurance: Sixty-three percent of those surveyed believe that health insurance premiums should cost less than $150 (per month/per individual).
  • Having health coverage in retirement: Ten percent of those surveyed nationwide currently have no health care coverage at all. When asked about anticipated health care coverage in retirement, 18 percent "did not know" if or how they might get coverage.

This national survey also inquired about the lifestyle of Boomers and some of the unique challenges facing them, notably how to prepare for retirement in a difficult economy and support adult children while also supporting aging parents and/or in-laws. These survey questions help to paint a more complete picture of this generation. The results demonstrate a notable level of support for children, grandchildren and aging parents, which almost certainly affects this group's viewpoint as they enter Medicare.

Comprehensive survey results can be viewed at www.ibxmedicare.com

"Having  clear insight into Boomers' lifestyles will help us to be even more responsive to the many health care concerns of this distinctive generation, such as how they use technology and whether they value products and services that will help them manage their weight," said Robert J. Smith, vice president, Sales and Marketing for Government Markets at IBC. "We are committed to using this survey to better inform and enhance not only our Medicare offerings, such as Keystone 65 Select, but also, our other health and wellness offerings that may help address Boomers' concerns."

Harris Interactive® fielded the study online in the United States on behalf of Independence Blue Cross from October 20-28, 2011, interviewing a nationwide sample of 802 U.S. adults, aged 55-67 years. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region, and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

About Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.1 million people. For 73 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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