Chronically Ill Patients Give Managed Care Higher Marks Than Indemnity Insurance

Study of quality of care for chronically ill patients in managed care

From 1998 to 2001, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston investigated the quality of care that managed-care plans provide to patients with a chronic medical condition compared to that indemnity plans (offering fee-for-service care) provide to such patients.

The study was conducted through an analysis of claims data and a survey of enrollees.

Key Findings

  • Managed care did not provide lower quality care to chronically ill patients compared to indemnity plans.
  • Patients in managed care were more likely than those in indemnity plans to have visited a primary care physician at least once in any given year; they were less likely to have utilized a hospital emergency department or to have been hospitalized.
  • Indemnity patients' higher rate of emergency department use coupled with their lower rates of primary care practitioner use suggests a lower probability of appropriate care patterns.
  • Those in managed care plans had overwhelmingly positive perceptions of this type of coverage; conversely, patients in indemnity plans had significantly more negative perceptions of managed care.