Most Americans Still Lack A Sure Source Of Health Care Price And Quality Information

November 8, 2017

Ann Arbor, MI and Berkeley, CA—Most states fail to provide consumers with the information they need to make informed health care choices and even fewer provide data on the price and quality of care together, according to a report by independent nonprofit organizations Altarum and Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR).  

For the past four years Altarum (previously the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute) and CPR published their joint price transparency and physician quality report cards separately. This year, to reflect the growing importance of providing price and quality information in tandem, the organizations have combined the report cards into a single report which can be found here.

“We continue to find that most states miss the mark in providing consumers with usable price and quality information,” said François de Brantes, vice president and director of Altarum’s Center for Value in Health Care. “Only one state—Maine—scored above an F in both price and quality information. That means that in 49 out of 50 states, consumers are basically in the dark when it comes to making value-based health care decisions. But it also means that providing good information to consumers is possible and all states can get there. They need to have the will to do it.”

Price Transparency Scores

This year 43 states received an F for failing to meet even minimum price transparency standards. States that did make the grade are those with robust laws promoting and mandating price transparency that offer consumer-friendly, free websites with meaningful price information.

States with passing grades:

  • A – Maine, New Hampshire
  • B – Maryland, Oregon
  • C – Colorado, Vermont, and Virginia

The award for most improved goes to Maryland, which had the highest grade jump from last year, moving from an F to a B after the release of a new price and quality website, wearthecost.org.

Physician Quality Scores

On the quality transparency front, 42 states received an F and no states improved in score from last year highlighting the need for significant progress to be made. States that scored well have independent, free websites for consumers with current data on a high percentage of physicians in the state. These websites contain quality measures that are meaningful to consumers and offer access to easily interpretable information.

States with passing grades:

  • A – California, Minnesota
  • C – Maine, Michigan

“While some large employers and health plans have made progress in providing price and quality information to those they cover, many Americans need another source,” said Suzanne Delbanco, executive director of Catalyst for Payment Reform. “For most states, there is nowhere to go but up. CPR and Altarum will continue to do our part to help states get there.”

Contact Information
Sarah Litton
Manager, Communications and Public Affairs
202-772-5062
press@altarum.org

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