|TennCare study says number of uninsured lower |
|Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 9:04 pm |
|KNOXVILLE (AP) — A study of the state’s TennCare program says that the lowest percentage of residents since 2005 are uninsured and that most are satisfied with the program. |
Some 9.2 percent of the population or 577,813 people do not have health insurance in the state.
The number of uninsured adults decreased from 12 percent in 2011 to 11.2 percent this year. The number of uninsured children increased slightly from 2.4 to 2.7 percent, but still remains low.
The telephone survey by the University of Tennessee’s Center for Business and Economic Research of 5,000 heads of household also said that 93 percent of TennCare recipients are satisfied with the program. The high satisfaction rate has been consistent for several years, but it is 32 percentage points higher than the rate in 1994, the program’s first year.
About 70 percent of TennCare recipients said their own care was either “good” or “excellent,” while 80 percent rated their children’s care in one of those two categories.
The study also said the percentage of all adults, not just those on TennCare, initially seeking care at hospitals was 4 percent versus 82 percent who went to a doctor’s office and 13 percent who went to clinics. For children, 2 percent were taken to hospitals for care, 88 percent went to a doctor’s office and 10 percent went to a clinic. Those numbers have not changed much over the past few years.
The percentage of adults who said they went to a doctor less than once a year was 17 percent overall and 14 percent for TennCare recipients. For children, those numbers were 6 percent and 5 percent, respectively.
Of the respondents who did not have insurance, 88 percent said a major reason was that they could not afford coverage, 9 percent said they didn’t get around to obtaining it and 7 percent said they do not need insurance.
The study concludes that “from the perspective of the recipients, the TennCare program continues to work as expected. Since the beginning of TennCare, its recipients have continued to see physicians more often and are able to see a physician without excessive travel or waiting time.”
Published in The Messenger 9.18.12