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Large employers want better plan quality data

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Big U.S. group benefits buyers are unhappy with the current state of health care cost and quality information.

Analysts at the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) — a major employer group — and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have published data on employers’ complaints in a summary of results from a survey of 50 executives at employers with 5,000 or more full-time employees.

About 98 percent of the executives interviewed agreed on the need for employers to actively manage the value of health benefits, and 74 percent agreed on the need for employers to “drive value across the U.S. health system.”

When given a list of ideas for improving health benefits value, 90 percent said “improving quality measurement” is important to their company, and 78 percent said “increasing price transparency” is important.

See also: How the feds may shop for health benefits.

Improving quality measurement was the most popular choice on the strategy list, and improving price transparency ranked third.

Increasing insurer competition, increasing provider competition, and letting providers such as nurse practitioners do more received significantly less support.

Executives told interviewers that they see the United States making progress in the area of quality measurement but see lack of good patient risk-adjustment tools and lack of standardized definitions for some conditions and procedures as major obstacles.

The executives gave health care price tools bad reviews. ”Getting real, meaningful data … none of these tools let you do that,” an executive told the interviewers. “They say they do, but they really don’t.”

See also: Experts: Insurers should post death-care quality stats.