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Release No: 086-97
February 21, 1997


The Department of Defense announced today preliminary data from a comprehensive satisfaction survey which looks at the new military health care program called TRICARE. According to information collected, the majority of active duty and retired military personnel, and their families are happy with their health care under TRICARE Prime and plan to re-enroll in the program,. The data also shows an increase in satisfaction with health care received in military hospitals and clinics since the introduction of the Prime program.

The survey rated enrollees' understanding of the program as well as their satisfaction with TRICARE Prime. Overall satisfaction covered six aspects: administration, medical care, access and convenience, coverage, information about coverage and costs.

Prime enrollees said they were most satisfied with the customer service and quality of medical care, while they were less satisfied with such features as the provider network size and the ability to access specialists.

Survey results show that 89 percent of non-active duty TRICARE Prime participants are likely to re-enroll in Prime, while only seven percent said they are unlikely to re-enroll.

The data collected also indicates that most beneficiaries have a solid comprehension of TRICARE Prime, with 75 percent of non-active duty and 62 percent of active duty reporting they have a good to excellent understanding of the health care program.

The satisfaction survey, sponsored by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. Stephen C. Joseph, was conducted from October through December of 1996 in those U.S. regions where TRICARE has been implemented for at least one year. The survey sought a broad perspective from respondents about their overall health care, rather than a view of their last patient encounter. Survey respondents included nearly 8,000 active duty personnel and their adult family members, and retired military personnel and their adult family members. The survey's margin of error is plus or minus two percent.

TRICARE brings together the health care resources of the Army, Navy and Air Force, and supplements them with networks of civilian health care professionalsviders. TRICARE to providepromises better access and to high quality servicecare while maintainingimproving medical flexibility the capability to support the broad range of military operations.(MORE)

(External Release)

TRICARE Prime Satisfaction Survey Page 2

TRICARE Prime is one of three options under TRICARE and the only option in which most patients receive the majority of their health care from military hospitals and clinics. Under Prime, each patient has is assigned a Primary Care Manager who guides the patient's total health care program. Prime also offersprovides extensive preventive care and wellness health services.

TRICARE was first implemented in the Pacific Northwest (Region 11), in 1995. Since then it has been implemented by region, throughout most of the Western U.S., in Hawaii, along the Gulf Coast and in most of the Southeast U.S.. It is scheduled to be implemented throughout the remainder of the U.S. by the end of 1997.

Active military personnel receive their health care in TRICARE Prime, while their family members and military retirees and their families may select Prime or use one of two other options, TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra. TRICARE Standard is the new name for the CHAMPUS program. TRICARE Extra is a program in which patients may choose to receive their health care from athe Prime network of civilian health care professionals at a lesser cost to them than if they chose to use TRICARE Standard. In both Standard and Extra, all beneficiaries share the cost of care.

Editors Note: A copy of the survey findings is attached.

Synopsis of TRICARE
Prime Enrollee Satisfaction Study
Regions 6, 9,10,11 & 12
Prepared for the TRICARE Marketing Office

February 7, 1997
Prepared by:
Monitor Company
750 Lexington Avenue
New York, New York 10022
(212) 940-6000

Synopsis: Regions 6, 9, 10, 11 & 12 Satisfaction Study Results


OASD(HA) commissioned a telephone survey of TRICARE Prime Regions 6, 9, 10, 11 & 12 enrollees to measure their knowledge of and satisfaction with the Prime program. The research was undertaken among four beneficiary populations: active duty sponsors, adult dependents of active duty sponsors, retiree sponsors, and adult dependents of retiree sponsors.

In total, 7728 telephone interviews were conducted across TRICARE Regions 6, 9, 10, 11 & 12 between 18 October and 8 December, 1996. Of the total number interviewed, 1935 were active duty sponsors (AD), 1934 adult dependents of active duty (D/AD), 1922 retiree sponsors (RET), and 1937 adult dependents of retiree sponsors (D/RET). The telephone interviews averaged 17.5 minutes in length and took place primarily at nights and on weekends and achieved a 73% cooperation rate (defined as the total number of interviews completed divided by the number of interviews plus the number of refusals). All the interviewing was conducted by a professional telephone research facility using a computer-assisted telephone interviewing system. The names of enrollees were taken from lists of enrollees as of 30 September, 1996, provided by DEERS, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of South Carolina and Foundation Health Federal Services. All respondents were informed that they were taking part in a DoD-sponsored survey on health benefits.

Summary of Regions 6, 9, 10, 11 & 12 Results

Survey results show enrollees' understanding of the TRICARE Prime program to be quite good, with over two-thirds of all respondents stating that their understanding is good to excellent. An even higher percentage of non-active duty (non-AD) respondents fall within this range, as 76% rate their understanding as at least good, and 37% find it very good or excellent. Similarly, respondents feel that the education campaign to inform enrollees of the TRICARE Prime program is effective. Sixty-three percent of all respondents and 70% of non- AD respondents rate the campaign good, very good or excellent, with 13% of non-AD respondents considering it to be excellent.

Survey results show overall satisfaction with TRICARE Prime is high, as 67% of all respondents state that they are at least satisfied, and 22% say they are very satisfied. Satisfaction rates are slightly higher in the non-AD segment, where 71% of the respondents express satisfaction with TRICARE Prime, and 26% say they are very satisfied. Corroborating these high satisfaction rates, 88% of non-AD enrollees state that they are likely to re- enroll in TRICARE Prime, with 56% stating they are very likely to do so. Only 7% report being either unlikely or very unlikely to re-enroll.

High levels of satisfaction were expressed in regards to all aspects of TRICARE Prime's service: coverage, cost, information about covered services, medical care, access and convenience, and administration. An average of 79% of all respondents rank their satisfaction with all attributes, in aggregate, as good to excellent, with 44% of respondents rating their satisfaction within the very good to excellent range. The attributes ranking highest in terms of satisfaction are medical care, administration, and access and convenience. Good to excellent ratings of 87%, 87% and 81%, respectively, were recorded for these categories. Twenty-two percent of all respondents, and 26% of non-AD respondents, find TRICARE Prime's medical care to be excellent. Poor rankings average just 5% of respondents for all attributes aggregated.

In considering access to basic health care, the quality of basic health care and the overall health benefits package before and after TRICARE Prime, a significant number of respondents see an improvement in these items after the implementation of TRICARE Prime. At least a third of all respondents feel that their access to, and quality of, basic health care have improved, and 39% feel that their overall health benefits package is somewhat to much better. Only about 12%, on average, feel that there has been a worsening in these items.

Results of the survey show that TRICARE Prime has performed well in attempting to fulfill its access standards in terms of the amount of time enrollees must wait before they are able to obtain appointments. Eighty-seven percent of all respondents and 85% of non-AD respondents were able to receive assistance within 24 hours for urgent care cases. For minor injuries or illnesses, almost all of enrollees, 95% of all respondents and of non-AD respondents, were able to obtain appointments within TRICARE Prime's seven-day access standard for this treatment category. A similarly high percentage of respondents, between 98 and 99 percent, seeking care for ongoing conditions and for routine care received treatment within the mandated 30 days, the standard for these categories.

Comparison of Regions

Enrollees in the five regions show only very small differences on key measurements. Region 11 enrollees demonstrate the best understanding of the program, with 73% saying they have at least a good understanding, compared to a low of 63% in Region 9. Region 9, however, reports the highest overall satisfaction at 69%, compared to a low of 63% in Region 10. Re-enrollment intention is remarkably similar across regions, varying from 87% to 90%.

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