Examining the potential of information technology to improve public insurance application processes: enrollee assessments from a concurrent mixed method analysis

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Ketsche, Patricia
Marton, James
Snyder, Angela
McLaren, Susan
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Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited
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Objective To assess the perceived readiness of Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollees to use information technologies (IT) in order to facilitate improvements in the application processes for these public insurance programs. Methods We conducted a concurrent mixed method study of Medicaid and CHIP enrollees in a southern state. We conducted focus groups to identify enrollee concerns regarding the current application process and their IT proficiency. Additionally, we surveyed beneficiaries via telephone about their access to and use of the Internet, and willingness to adopt IT-enabled processes. 2013 households completed the survey. We used χ2 analysis for comparisons across different groups of respondents. Results A majority of enrollees will embrace IT-enabled enrollment, but a small yet significant group continues to lack access to facilitating technologies. Moreover, a segment of beneficiaries in the two programs continues to place a high value on personal interactions with program caseworkers. Discussion IT holds the promise of improving efficiency and reducing barriers for enrollees, but state and federal agencies managing public insurance programs need to ensure access to traditional processes and make caseworkers available to those who require and value such assistance, even after implementing IT-enabled processes. Conclusions The use of IT-enabled processes is essential for effectively managing eligibility and enrollment determinations for public programs and private plans offered through state or federally operated exchanges. However, state and federal officials should be cognizant of the technological readiness of recipients and provide offline help to ensure broad participation in the insurance market. Keywords: Health Information Technologies, Computer Literacy, ligibility Determination, Medicaid, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
This article is published as Mishra, A. N., P. Ketsche, J. Marton, A. Snyder, S. McLaren. 2014. Examining the potential of information technology to improve public insurance application processes: Enrollee assessments from a concurrent mixed method analysis. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. (21:6) 1045-1052. Posted with permission. This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/