More seniors (61%) are concerned about Medicare than about any other financial issue, according to a recent survey, topping even the 52% who worry about having enough money to enjoy retirement.

Further down the wall of worry are paying for long-term care (43%), paying for health care (41%), and outliving their money (38%), according to Allsup, a Belleville, Ill.-based provider of Social Security disability, Medicare and Medicare secondary payer compliance services.

 “I don’t think it’s a big surprise,” Mary Dale Walters, senior vice president at Allsup Medicare Advisor, says. “The anxiety about the future of Medicare is heightened by the current elections and the ongoing debate about the Affordable Care Act.”

According to Walters, most seniors rely on Medicare for their health care coverage.

“They may see ensuring Medicare’s future as critical in making sure they have enough money to enjoy retirement,” she says. “Many seniors have already cut back on certain spending beyond health care to cover unexpected health care costs. They may be concerned that if there are changes to Medicare, that could mean further cutting back on spending in other areas of their lives.”

Seniors’ interest in Medicare is peaking while open enrollment is under way, from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. Financial advisors can help clients during the Medicare annual enrollment period with needs assessment, Walters says.

“Selecting appropriate coverage and actively managing costs (both premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses) assists with asset protection,” Walters says.

Donald Jay Korn writes for On Wall Street, a SourceMedia publication.

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