Beneficiaries Respond to California’s Program to Integrate Medicare, Medicaid, and Long-Term Services

September 2018
Carrie L. Graham, Pi-Ju Liu, Brooke A. Hollister, H. Stephen Kaye, and Charlene Harrington
The cover of the September 2018 issue of Health Affairs

In 2014 California implemented a demonstration project called Cal MediConnect, which used managed care organizations to integrate Medicare and Medicaid, including long-term services and supports for beneficiaries dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. Post-enrollment telephone surveys assessed how enrollees adjusted to Cal MediConnect over time. Results showed increased satisfaction with benefits, improved ratings of quality of care, fewer acute care visits, and increased personal care assistance hours over time. Enrollees also had somewhat better prescription medication access and lower unmet needs for personal care, compared to the comparison group. The lack of improvement in care coordination raises concerns about the implementation of the care coordination benefit, a key feature of the program. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 contains provisions that permanently certify the use of managed care (such as Dual Eligilble Special Needs Plans) to integrate Medicare and Medicaid, which makes the lessons learned from Califronia's duals demonstration especially relevant for informing other integrated programs for seniors and people with disabilities.

Last modified Jun 6, 2019