Sick people in managed care plans had more complaints about their doctors and felt they had more hassles getting treated than their counterparts in fee-for-service plans, said a survey released Wednesday.
The poll, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found that sick people with managed care coverage said they had to wait longer for doctor appointments and had more difficulty arranging to see specialists.
The survey was conducted by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the polling firm of Louis Harris and Associates.
A spokeswoman for a lobbying group representing health maintenance organizations questioned the results, saying they differed with other findings about such care.
The survey found that, compared with sick people who had traditional insurance allowing them to go to any doctors they wanted, those in managed care were:
More likely to complain their doctor provided inappropriate care - 12 percent managed care, 5 percent fee for service.
Made them wait a long time for an appointment - 17 percent managed care, 7 percent fee for service.
Felt that a specialist’s exam was not thorough - 12 percent managed care, 3 percent fee for service.
“In health care, we don’t get something for nothing,” said Joel C. Cantor, director of evaluation for the Johnson Foundation. “Managed care holds promise of providing costeffective medicine, but it appears that the trade-off may be patient dissatisfaction with services and treatment.”
Some 2,374 adults were interviewed by telephone from June 1994 to April 1995. Among them were 473 who said they were sick, had a chronic disease or had been hospitalized in the previous year.