Chronically ill members of Medicare HMOs are as satisfied with their medical care, if not more so, than their peers who have traditional Medicare fee-for-service coverage or supplemental Medicare insurance, according to a study by the Sachs Group to be released this week.
The survey of 16,200 senior citizens in 33 markets dispels myths about Medicare HMO plans, researchers said.
For example, the survey debunks the perception that the chronically ill receive less care in Medicare HMOs, researchers said. In reality, they receive more preventive care, and more of them use physician services than their counterparts in non-HMO programs.
In fact, in six of seven indicators of satisfaction, Medicare HMOs fared as well as or better than traditional Medicare programs, the survey found.
The only areas in which Medicare HMOs fell short were medical management and specialty referrals.
Sachs, an Evanston, Ill.-based healthcare market research firm, conducted the study of seniors with congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, diabetes and cancer on behalf of PacifiCare Health Systems, which operates Secure Horizons, the nation's largest Medicare risk plan, with nearly 1 million enrollees.