What We're Reading: Medicaid Satisfaction; Potential Coffee Benefits; Medical Debt Changes


Medicaid Beneficiaries Report High Satisfaction With Coverage, Care

Patients enrolled in Medicaid report they are pleased with the program and the care it provides, according to a large survey of beneficiaries. The findings, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, reveal that only 3% of respondents said they could not access care due to long waits or practices that did not accept their insurance. A large majority (84%) reported feeling they were able to get all the medical care they needed in the past 6 months. The average patient rating for the program as a whole was 7.9 out of 10, where 10 represented “the best healthcare possible,” and almost half gave it a 9 or 10.

Studies Point to Possible Protective Effects of Drinking Coffee

Two studies published in Annals of Internal Medicine offer coffee drinkers reassurance that the beverage does not appear to be harmful and may in fact be linked to reduced mortality. The first, which analyzed European coffee drinkers over a mean 16.4 years, found a lower risk of death for coffee drinkers, especially if they drank 3 or more cups a day. The second study on Americans by racial/ethnic group also found coffee consumption to be inversely associated with all-cause mortality. Researchers cautioned that the associations were modest and could be due to uncontrolled confounding factors.

New “Buffer Period” in Credit Scores Will Delay Inclusion of Medical Debt

Beginning in September, the 3 major credit reporting agencies will change the way they factor medical debt into consumers’ credit scores, Kaiser Health News reports. There will now be a waiting period of 180 days before medical debt is included on a credit report, which will give consumers time to resolve any lingering delays or issues with insurers. The credit agencies will also strike the medical debt from the credit report when it is paid by an insurer. The article notes that 43 million Americans currently have medical debt in collections that is damaging their credit score.

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