5 Tips for Health Plans to Improve Race and Ethnicity Data – Managed Healthcare Executive – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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Equity is a central part of healthcare quality, but health plans often lack information on individual members’ race and ethnicity, making assessing and improving health outcomes challenging.

The Current Landscape

Race and ethnicity data are available for nearly all Medicare beneficiaries. However, while 61.2% of working adults ages 19 to 64 received health insurance through an employer in 2019, less than 25% of commercial health plans had race data for even half of their members. As expectations for stratifying quality results by race and ethnicity increase, having these data is fast becoming both a business and ethical necessity.

Among health plans, there is wide variability around how to collect and analyze race and ethnicity data from their members. Health plans also often face real and perceived barriers to collecting these data. These can include legal and privacy concerns, reluctance from individuals to self-report, hesitancy from health care professionals to gather race and ethnicity data, and a lack of financial incentives or program requirements to collect this information.

While racial and ethnic health disparities have always been present, the COVID-19 pandemic highligh

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