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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.


Originally Published in:

J Am Med Inform Assoc, 21 (6), 1045-52. doi:

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.