Study: Most Michigan Medicaid Beneficiaries Satisfied With Coverage, Scared to Lose It

By Natasha Robinson, MPCA Program Specialist

The majority of Michigan’s Medicaid beneficiaries say their coverage is “excellent” or “very good,” but they’re the same group most concerned about losing coverage according to a report released earlier this month from the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation (CHRT). This group’s concerns about losing coverage more than doubled from 2009 to 2012.

The study, in partnership with the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University, was based on a random phone-based survey of 1,018 Michigan adults in the third quarter of 2012 about their satisfaction with their health care coverage. One key finding was that 65 percent of respondents with Medicaid were the most satisfied of those surveyed, which also included beneficiaries of Medicare employer-sponsored insurance, and private insurance. Those purchasing coverage individually were the group least satisfied, with 45 percent rating their coverage as “fair” or “poor.” This group was also the least concerned about losing their 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 Michigan’s House of Representatives have already voted in favor of reforming and extending Medicaid eligibility to those earning up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, the Michigan Senate still has not taken a vote on House Bill 4714, also known as the Healthy Michigan plan. A Senate workgroup is reviewing how best to reform and expand Medicaid and is expected to make a recommendation to the Senate Government Operations Committee regarding the bill. The Michigan Senate will be in session this week. Michigan Primary Care Association has a call to action at http://bit.ly/12tyv5b asking supporters to contact their state Senators and urge them to vote yes on HB 4714.

The “Cover Michigan 2013” survey found that about 51 percent of all insured respondents rated their health care coverage as “excellent” or “very good.” Those who were less satisfied with their coverage reported having a negative experience, citing reasons such as expensive medical bills for services not covered by their insurance, or their doctor charging more than their current coverage would pay and they having to pay the difference. The Health Insurance Marketplace, for which open enrollment begins October 1, 2013,will be designed to offer consumers a number of health coverage options in simple, plain language that clearly explains out-of-pocket costs and coverage amounts.

“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,” said Udow-Phillips. “The new health insurance marketplace has the prospect of providing improved opportunities for those in the individual market.”

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