The J.D Power 2017 Managed Medicaid Special Report, which measures the overall satisfaction of managed Medicaid organizations, found that Medicaid customers may be more satisfied with their coverage than traditional, commercial health plan members.

Seventy-four million Americans currently receive health coverage through Medicaid, making the government program the largest source of health insurance in the United States, according to the report.

The J.D Power report was based on responses from 2,145 managed Medicaid health plan members in 36 states including Washington, D.C., between January and March.

The study was based on six factors, in order of importance: provider choice; coverage and benefits; customer service; cost; information and communication; and claims processing. Satisfaction was calculated on a 1,000-point scale.

The Medicaid managed care plans evaluated in the study are operated by or include Aetna, Anthem, BlueCare Tennessee, BlueShield of California, CalOptima, CareSource, Centene, EmblemHealth, Health Care Service Corp., HealthFirst, Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey, Humana, Independence Health Plan of California, United Healthcare, University of Pittsburgh Medical Centers, and WellCare Health Plans.

The overall satisfaction of managed Medicaid organizations is about 784, J.D Power’s reports this is 78 points higher than commercial health plan member measured by J.D Power 2017 Member Health Plan Study.

Here are some of the major findings:

  • Managed Medicaid customer satisfaction higher than commercial customers: Overall satisfaction with managed Medicaid organizations is 784, on average, which is 78 points higher than commercial health plan member satisfaction as measured by the J.D. Power 2017 Member Health Plan Study.
  • Cost remains barrier to care: More than four in 10 (42%) Medicaid managed care recipients put off getting the medical treatments they needed because of cost. Likewise, 40% avoided buying prescription medications due to cost.
  • Not all states created equal: According to study findings, Medicaid recipients in states where a dominant regional plan or a plan that owns a health system have the easiest access to doctors and hospitals, underscoring the importance of building robust networks and focusing on coordination of care between providers. Iowa, Tennessee, Arizona and Indiana have the easiest access to doctors and hospitals, compared with the other states included in the study.
  • Indiana raises out-of-pocket costs without compromising satisfaction: The controversial Healthy Indiana plan, which is the only one of its kind to require every recipient to contribute to a health savings account (HSA), has higher out-of-pocket expenditures than the national average, without a corresponding drop in cost satisfaction among recipients.

The states with the highest levels of satisfaction among Medicaid recipients are Utah (885), Colorado (854), Arizona (840) and Virginia (840). The lowest-performing states overall were Kansas (683), Mississippi (686), Delaware (716), New Jersey (728) and California (731).

In a statement included in the report, Valerie Monet, senior director of U.S health insurance for the market researc company, discusses the importance of state Medicaid agencies and managed care organizations to focus on understanding the enrollee mindset.

“While, on the whole, Medicaid managed care organizations are scoring relatively high marks for overall customer satisfaction, there are some significant challenges involving access to care and cost of care that have the potential to have a counterproductive effect on patient engagement, and, ultimately, population health,” Monet said.

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