The first survey of consumers who receive subsidized health insurance through the state's Health Connector shows most give it high marks, according to results released today by the Connector Authority.
Eighty-six percent of those surveyed said they were pleased with the range of services covered and the quality of care available, while 82 percent had similar feelings about the choice of doctors.
The majority of patients -- 81 percent -- reported they had seen a doctor for regular care at least once since receiving coverage through the Commonwealth Care program, which is the state-subsidized health insurance program created for low- and moderate income residents under Massachusetts' 2006 health care law.
The survey also found that some members did report experiencing challenges in scheduling doctor's visits.
Thirty-one percent said they were told by a provider that they didn't accept their type of insurance and 23 percent said they were told that a doctor's office was not accepting new patients.
About a third of patients surveyed said they had gone to a hospital emergency room in the past year. That mirrors the findings of an Urban Institute study done last year of patients statewide, including those who have private health insurance.
Among the Commonwealth Care patients, the new survey found that roughly half said they used the ER because they needed care after traditional doctors' hours.
A presentation of the findings today by the Connector Authority staff indicated that program officials have more work to do to help patients understand what they need to do to make sure their coverage is intact. Twenty percent of those surveyed said they had lost coverage at least once in the previous year. About a quarter of those patients said they didn't receive a renewal form and didn't know about the process. Another 16 percent said they just didn't complete the paperwork.
The telephone and mail survey of 695 patients was commissioned by the Connector Authority and conducted by an Oregon-based market research firm between Oct. 19 and Nov. 30 2010. The survey had a sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percent.
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|White Coat Notes covers the latest from the health care industry, hospitals, doctors offices, labs, insurers, and the corridors of government. Chelsea Conaboy previously covered health care for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @cconaboy.|
Gideon Gil, Health and Science Editor
Elizabeth Comeau, Senior Health Producer