Medicaid recipients are the most satisfied with insurance coverage; individually insured least satisfied, says Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation

July 8, 2013 | Publication

A report released today by the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation (CHRT) shows that Medicaid recipients in Michigan were the most satisfied with their health care coverage in 2012, while those with individual coverage were the least satisfied. This finding gives some insight into to how consumers may react when new qualified health insurance products under the Affordable Care Act go into effect in 2014.

The survey, conducted in partnership with the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University, asked 1,018 Michigan adults to rate their satisfaction and experience with their health insurance, based on whether they had Medicaid, Medicare, employer-sponsored or individually- purchased coverage.

“The most interesting findings are from the two groups who are likely to experience the biggest impacts of the Affordable Care Act—those who would be eligible for Medicaid and those who purchase coverage individually,” says Marianne Udow-Phillips, director of CHRT. “While some are predicting that the new health insurance exchanges that offer coverage in the individual market will have a number of start-up issues, the fact is that those with individual coverage already face serious problems with their coverage today. The new health insurance marketplace has the prospect of providing improved opportunities for those in the individual market.”

The survey results show that those with individually-purchased insurance had more negative experiences (61 percent) than those with other types of insurance. Negative experiences related to services that were not covered benefits, or having to pay out-of-pocket for services that cost above what their insurance would pay. Individually insured respondents also were the least concerned about losing their coverage.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Medicaid recipients were the least likely to report a negative experience with their coverage (41 percent) and yet were the most concerned about losing their coverage.

“These results tell us that those with Medicaid coverage greatly appreciate it. They tend to have higher health needs, and so their coverage is valuable to them,” said Udow-Phillips. “Combine this with the results from our “Access to Health Care” brief showing more than 90 percent of Medicaid recipients had easier access to care in 2012, and you see a positive trend for Medicaid in Michigan.”

Ease of scheduling appointments was another key factor correlated with coverage satisfaction. Those with a “very” or “somewhat” easier time scheduling appointments with primary care physicians were more likely to rate their coverage as “excellent” or “very good.”

Respondents who reported a “very” or “somewhat” easy experience in scheduling appointments with specialist physicians rated their coverage the highest, indicating that access to specialists is more related to satisfaction levels than access to primary care.

“This survey busts some of the assumptions people have about health insurance in Michigan,” says Udow-Phillips. “According to these survey results, Medicaid is working well for Michigan recipients. And those who will buy their insurance on the individual exchange may see improved choices and coverage with the new qualified plans.”

This publication is the second in the Cover Michigan Survey 2013 series. Future publications will cover other aspects of health care in Michigan using the 2012 survey data.