Although health care costs top the list of concerns for many senior citizens, a large proportion of seniors do not discuss Medicare with their advisor, according to a national survey.

Only 28 percent of the survey respondents who have a financial advisor talk with him or her about Medicare, according to a study by Allsup, a provider of Social Security disability, Medicare and Medicare secondary payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers.

Although most do not talk to their advisor about Medicare, of those who do, 79 percent say their advisor is knowledgeable or extremely knowledgeable about Medicare, according to the study, conducted for Allsup by Richard Day Research in Evanston, Ill. The study looked at 1,000 senior citizens, one third of whom have a financial advisor.

Although 71 percent of those with advisors will review their finances in the next 12 months, only 58 percent will review their health care needs, the study says. Seniors with financial advisors are more likely to save specifically for health care expenses than those without (41 percent to 27 percent). At the same time, seniors with an advisor are more confident in their health care savings than those without (70 percent to 58 percent).

The study found 15 percent of seniors have changed some of their Medicare coverage in the past year.

"Many seniors, to their detriment, tend to avoid re-assessing their healthcare needs and their health care insurance coverage, even though their health or financial situation may have changed," says Mary Dale Walters, senior vice president of the Allsup Medicare Advisor, a Medicare plan selection service for individuals.

Top concerns for the survey respondents are the future of Medicare (60 percent), having enough money in retirement (53 percent), paying for long-term care (44 percent), paying for health care (41 percent), and outliving their money (40 percent).

-Karen DeMasters