Survey: Medicaid enrollees report lower financial burden than privately insured

A new survey found Medicaid patients face lower financial burdens compared to those with private insurance. (Getty/juststock)

People enrolled in Medicaid plans have similar care access levels to people with private insurance, and report an easier time paying medical bills than those people, according to a new survey.

The Commonwealth Fund’s Biennial Health Insurance Survey polled a representative sample of 6,005 American adults and found that Medicaid enrollees have significantly better access to care and reduced financial burdens compared to the uninsured. About 57% of surveyed Medicaid patients rated their care over the past year as excellent or very good, compared to about 52% of the privately insured and 40% of the uninsured.

Medicaid enrollees also reported a lesser financial burden than those with private insurance, which may reflect increasing deductibles and copays. About 12% of Medicaid enrollees said they had trouble paying bills, while about 20% of the privately insured and 35% of the uninsured said the same. Just 19% reported a medical bill issue or debt, compared to 36% of the privately insured and 52% of the uninsured. Medicaid enrollees were also the least likely to skip a doctor’s visit, fail to fill a prescription or pass on a medical test because of the cost.

Medicaid enrollees did, however, get same-day appointments at a slightly lower rate than those with private insurance, with 45% getting a same-day appointment compared with about 53%. There was also no significant difference between the number of Medicaid enrollees and privately insured people as far as receiving most preventative services, though the privately insured were slightly more likely to have their cholesterol checked.

RELATED: Medicaid expansion slashed uninsured rates for poor, childless adults

The expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act has significantly contributed to decline in the uninsured population. Increased Medicaid enrollment has also been a boon to providers, with hospitals seeing a large drop in uncompensated care costs.

Some states are giving expansion a second look, particularly in the wake of ongoing debate about the Republicans' American Health Care Act. The bill’s sharp cuts to Medicaid funding have drawn ire from provider groups and governors in expansion states.