Health Insurance Plans Address Disparities in Care: Challenges and Opportunities

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America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) (2004) Health Insurance Plans Address Disparities in Care: Challenges and Opportunities. Other. UNSPECIFIED.
In 2002, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a landmark report indicating that racial and ethnic minorities receive lower quality health care than non-minorities, even when factors related to access (e.g., insurance status and income) are controlled. There is widespread agreement that data are fundamental building blocks to identifying differences in the care experienced by specific populations, to developing programs to address differences, and to ensuring a higher standard of care. Since then, there has been growing interest in understanding the extent to which health insurance plans, providers, and other organizations collect and use data on race and ethnicity to reduce health care disparities. To date, national studies have identified very few providers or institutions that address disparities in care using a data-driven, quality improvement proach. In 2003/04, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) worked with The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to survey health insurance plans about the extent to which they collect and use data on the race and ethnicity of their enrollees to improve quality of care. AHIP also conducted follow-up qualitative research to obtain more specific information, to solicit recommendations on how to improve the collection and use of these data, and to explore potential future collaborations. A number of challenges and opportunities emerged from this quantitative and qualitative research.