Collection of Racial and Ethnic Data by Health Plans to Address Disparities
In 2003/04, AHIP collaborated with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to conduct a survey and follow-up qualitative research to assess whether health plans and insurers collect racial and ethnic data on their enrollees and how this data is used to improve patient care. The primary objectives of this effort were to: (1) Describe the extent to which health plans and insurers collect racial and ethnic data (including primary language); (2) Determine the current status and barriers associated with health plan and insurer activities relevant to the collection of these data; and (3) Identify health plans and insurers interested in potential future collaborations. The survey built upon prior work done by America's Health Insurance Plans for the National Research Council's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Committee on Race and Ethnicity Data. The qualitative research—focus groups and expert meetings—probes for a deeper understanding of the quantitative results. According to the survey, just over half of enrollees (53.5%) are enrolled in health insurance plans that responded to the survey and collect data on race and ethnicity while 46.5% of those are enrolled in plans that responded to the survey and do not currently collect such data. The attached issue briefs and final reports highlight the findings of this research.