Privately insured individuals are more likely to report worse access to care, higher medical costs and lower satisfaction than those on public insurance programs like Medicare, suggesting public options may provide more cost-effective care than private ones, according to a new study published in JAMA, writes Healthcare Dive.
The study, conducted by researchers from the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of California, San Francisco, used data from a state-based telephone survey from 2016 through 2018 of almost 150,000 people in 17 states and Washington, D.C., representing experiences of more than 61 million adults, to contrast private (individually purchased and employer-sponsored coverage) and public insurance (Medicare, Medicaid and military coverage through the Department of Veterans Affairs).
Compared to people on Medicare, individuals with employer-sponsored insurance were less likely to have a personal physician, and more likely to report instability in insurance coverage, difficulty receiving medical care or filling needed prescriptions due to cost. They were also less satisfied with their care. Comparing people with individually purchased insurance with those on Medicare led to similar findings, researchers said.