Medicaid reform pilot to enhance choices confuses beneficiaries

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A Florida pilot program designed to give Medicare beneficiaries more choice and control concerning their healthcare plans has led to more confusion than anything else, according to a recent review by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The two-year-old pilot program was meant to spur market competition by allowing Medicare recipients to choose between several different plans. Roughly 30% of Medicaid enrollees didn't know they had to make a choice, and more than half said the choice was difficult to make, according to survey results. Another 30% were not even aware they were enrolled in the pilot program.

The success of the pilot program hinges on consumers being well informed about their options, according to the Web site Health Affairs, which broke the story based on Kaiser's findings. Without a well-informed consumer, the program's cost benefits could be lost, they said. The Kaiser survey looked at only the first year of the program. A follow up survey is in the works, according to foundation officials.