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CMS Says Parents Have High Marks for Medicaid, CHIP

By Dena Bunis, CQ HealthBeat Managing Editor

November 7, 2011 -- Parents whose children get their health services through Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) say they have good access to doctors and that their children are getting good care, according to a federal survey that the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) will release this week.

Sixty-six percent of the parents surveyed said they were very satisfied with the Medicaid and CHIP programs, compared with 48 percent who have employer-sponsored coverage, according to a news release obtained by HealthBeat. In terms of quality of care, 66 percent of Medicaid and CHIP parents were very satisfied compared to 55 percent of those with employer coverage.

Knowledge Networks conducted the online survey and randomly sampled 9,000 households from its online panel. Respondents were then screened to include only those who are the parent or guardian of at least one child under the age of 19 and live in a household whose income is at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

"These results show how Medicaid and CHIP are making a positive difference in providing high-quality care and peace of mind for families," CMS Administrator Donald M. Berwick said in a statement that will soon be released. CMS official Marilyn Tavener is scheduled to release the data at the National Association of Medicaid Directors conference in Arlington, Va.

Highlights of the survey include:

  • Seven in 10 surveyed rated Medicaid and CHIP programs as very or somewhat good.
  • 57 percent of parents were very satisfied with how quickly they could get an appointment with a medical doctor under Medicaid and CHIP, compared to 53 percent with employer coverage.

"This survey amplifies the voice of consumers, and we are listening," said Cindy Mann, director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services. "We continue to work on streamlining the enrollment process and on providing families a variety of ways they can apply for Medicaid and CHIP coverage. A growing number of states are offering online applications, which parents say they want. CMS is supporting efforts to create and refine online applications so that we can offer the best customer service possible."

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