Medicaid Enrollees Largely Satisfied with Coverage

Medicaid insurance not observed to create a barrier to receiving healthcare.

The results of a nationwide survey indicate that Medicaid enrollees are largely satisfied with the care they receive. A majority of patients reported having good access to physicians, with few reporting barriers to care due to their insurance, according to a study published by JAMA Internal Medicine.

While some lawmakers argue that significant changes to the program are needed, the survey results suggest that Medicaid is popular among enrollees and can meet the needs of a diverse population, according to the authors.

“The debate on the future of Medicaid has largely marginalized a crucial voice: the perspective of enrollees,” said study co-author Michael Barnett, MD, MS. “Our findings confirm that Medicaid programs are fulfilling their mission to provide access to necessary medical care.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, states were able to expand their Medicaid programs to include additional individuals who met a certain income threshold; however, Republicans have sought to reverse or phase out the expansion in recent healthcare bills.

Included in the National Medicaid Consumer Assessment of Health Providers and System survey were more than 270,000 Medicaid-insured patients living in expansion and non-expansion states. The survey was administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services between December 2014 and July 2015.

Overall, the authors found that 83% of respondents indicated they had a usual source of care.

On a scale from 0 to 10, with 10 being “the best healthcare possible,” the authors found that patients reported their healthcare was at an average rating of 7.9, according to the study.

Additionally, 84% of participants said they were able to receive care deemed necessary by themselves or their providers in the past 6 months. Only 3% of patients reported not being able to receive healthcare due to long wait times or physicians not accepting Medicaid.

Interestingly, Medicaid satisfaction was high among participants living in both expansion and non-expansion states and across demographic groups, according to the study.

The authors believe that these results suggest that significantly changing the Medicaid program would result in lower rates of satisfaction and more uninsured Americans, according to the report.

“In summary, we found that Medicaid enrollees are largely satisfied with their care, and that few perceive their insurance as a major barrier to care,” the authors concluded. “Changes to Medicaid that would result in millions of beneficiaries losing coverage could have major adverse effects.”