Employers Unfamiliar With Information on the Quality of Health Plans

    • December 3, 2014

Princeton, N.J.—A new nationally representative survey of employers finds that most companies that offer health insurance are unfamiliar with objective data and ratings of health plan quality. Only 7 percent of employers who offer health insurance use objective quality information; 89 percent do not use or are unfamiliar with any of the objective sources tested by the survey.

Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, the survey measured the extent to which employers are familiar with Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) Scores, which are health insurance plan quality ratings collected by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA); eValue8 data from the National Business Coalition on Health (which includes performance reports that allow business participants to assess health care plans); and Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) data (a survey of consumers and patients about their experiences with health care).

“Over the last decade, we have taken giant steps forward in our ability to measure and report on health care quality,” said Anne Weiss, who leads efforts to increase health care value at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “This poll highlights the fact that there is still a lot of work to be done to educate employers on how to get the most bang for their buck.”

Additionally, the survey found that:

  • 60 percent of employers offering health insurance say quality ratings are an important factor when choosing a plan, though most are unfamiliar with independent sources of quality data, such as CAHPS or HEDIS metrics. Businesses with 50 or more employees are more likely than those with fewer than 50 employees to use independent sources.
  • 4 percent of employers say their organization uses HEDIS Scores and 65 percent say they are not familiar with this source. Another 4 percent say their organization uses CAHPS data; 64 percent say they are not familiar with this source. One percent of employers say their organization uses eValue8, and 61 percent say they are not familiar with it.
  • 36 percent of employers offering health insurance say their organization uses quality data provided directly by the health plan, 37 percent say they do not use this source, and 25 percent are unfamiliar with such a source.
  • 24 percent say their organization uses other sources to evaluate health insurance plan quality, including brokers or consultants (15 percent), references from other businesses (2 percent), employee feedback (2 percent), and their own research (2 percent).

This nationally representative survey of employers was conducted between August 19 and October 8 via web and telephone with 1,061 employers with at least three employees, full-time or part-time. Eighty-three percent of employers surveyed offer health insurance to their employees. This is the third survey in a series funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to explore issues of quality and value in health care. The first survey explored consumer awareness of provider quality and value; the second examined consumer opinions on health care cost and coverage, and how it impacts their decision-making. Get more information about all three.

 

About The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research

The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research taps into the power of social science research and the highest-quality journalism to bring key information to people across the nation and throughout the world.

NORC at the University of Chicago is an independent research organization that collaborates with government agencies, foundations, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and businesses to provide data and analysis that support informed decision making in key areas including health, education, economics, crime, justice, and energy. NORC's 70 years of leadership and experience in data collection, analysis, and dissemination—coupled with deep subject matter expertise—provides the foundation for effective solutions.

The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. Founded in 1846, AP today is the most trusted source of independent news and information. On any given day, more than half the world's population sees news from AP.

The two organizations have established the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research to conduct, analyze, and distribute social science research in the public interest on newsworthy topics, and to use the power of journalism to tell the stories that research reveals.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.

Media Contacts

Melissa Blair

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (609) 627-5937

Additional Media Contact: Brianna Gavio

(202) 745-5064