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UT Study: TennCare Satisfaction at Record High Level While Tennessee’s Uninsured Numbers Continue to Decline

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 | 9:44am

KNOXVILLE – The estimated number of uninsured people in Tennessee continues to drop, according to a report released today by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville's Haslam College of Business.

These numbers are a part of "The Impact of TennCare: A Survey of Recipients 2015," a report authored by LeAnn Luna, CBER professor, and Angela Thacker, CBER research associate.

The purpose of the annual study is to determine the insurance status of Tennessee residents, collect information about their use of medical facilities and gauge the extent of their satisfaction with services received.

The survey indicates that 95 percent of recipients report satisfaction with the TennCare program, indicating that TennCare provides medical care in a satisfactory manner and meets the expectations of those it serves. 

The number of uninsured children has dropped by more than half since 2013, and 98.5 percent of children are currently insured.  Over the same period, the number of uninsured adults has decreased by approximately 152,000, and the 8.2 percent rate of uninsured adults is the lowest recorded in the survey since 2004.   

According to the report, this downward trend began in 2013, coinciding with the availability of the health insurance marketplace established as part of the Affordable Care Act.

The study outlines care-seeking habits of TennCare recipients as well. When it comes to initial care, the study shows that TennCare enrollees increasingly choose doctors’ offices and clinics versus hospitals and emergency departments. 

“Although TennCare enrollees are less likely than all households to seek initial care at a doctor’s office or clinic, significantly more initially sought care at those providers in the current survey (94 percent) than in 2014 (90 percent),” said Luna. 

This year a larger share of TennCare enrollees reported receiving information from TennCare. This information includes enrollment cards, information on filing appeals, a list of rights and responsibilities, and the name of their managed care organization. 

The survey, which interviewed approximately 5,000 heads of households by telephone between May and July 2015, is a regular follow-up to previous surveys conducted since 1993.

CBER conducted the survey under contract with the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration.

To read the report, visit http://cber.haslam.utk.edu/tncare.htm.   

For more information about the Center for Business and Economic Research, visit http://cber.utk.edu.