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Poll: Duals Satisfied With New Program

A Field Research poll to be released today shows high levels of satisfaction with the care and services provided by Cal MediConnect, the state’s seven-county demonstration program for those dually eligible for benefits from Medicare and Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program.

According to the poll, 73% to 85% of people enrolled in Cal MediConnect said they were satisfied with the services provided in eight different categories:

  • Amount of time spent with them by doctors and staff;
  • Ability to get questions answered about their health needs;
  • Ability of their providers to work together;
  • Array of providers they can choose;
  • Number of hospitals they can choose;
  • Ability to manage their own health conditions;
  • Length of wait time for appointments; and
  • Level of information about health benefits that was supplied by health plans.

Dual eligibles outside the Cal MediConnect program expressed similar levels of satisfaction, according to the poll data. In a few areas, those who opted out of the program expressed higher satisfaction levels than those in the Cal MediConnect plan. 

A similar Field Research poll was conducted earlier this year. The work was funded by the SCAN Foundation, working with the Department of Health Care Services.

Those enrolled in the program who expressed less satisfaction with care and services tended to be non-English speakers, those with no more than an eighth-grade education, duals in fair or poor health and those who require assistance with common daily activities.

In a written statement, DHCS director Jennifer Kent said the data were encouraging.

“This latest data continues to show that an overwhelming majority of beneficiaries are satisfied with Cal MediConnect and confident in their care,” Kent said, adding, “Californians enrolled in Cal MediConnect see its value and are generally happy with the way their health care providers are working together to help coordinate their health care needs.”

The survey also targeted opt-outs, those people who chose not to participate in the program. The state has had higher-than-expected numbers of opt-outs and has been trying to find out some of the reasons why people rejected the program.

According to the poll, the two biggest reasons for not participating centered around a fear of change. The poll said two hypothetical statements received the most hits:

  • “I was satisfied with my current health care services and didn’t want to make any changes”; and
  • “I didn’t want to risk losing my doctor.”

The poll indicated many people didn’t understand their choices, or thought their services and benefits might go down if they made the switch to Cal MediConnect.

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