As the largest purchaser of health care in America, employers are paying a high price for poor-quality care. About 55 percent of Americans get health insurance through employers, and employers pay for nearly three-quarters of premiums. At the same time, poor-quality care, such as care that is excessive, ineffective, or harmful, costs a typical employer between $1,900 and $2,250 per employee every year. Improving the quality of health care could improve health while saving money.
Improving the quality and value of health care is at the heart of Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) signature effort to lift the overall quality of health care in 16 targeted communities. Lessons from AF4Q demonstrate how employers can drive accountability for providers and insurers to help patients get better quality care that makes more efficient use of health care dollars.