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Study: Cost, Not Quality, Is Top Factor In Evaluating Health-Care Plans

The skyrocketing price of health care has U.S. organizations keenly focused on cost when it comes to evaluating health-care plans. The cost focus frequently overwhelms issues such as quality of care and provider availability when health-care plan assessments are under way, a recent survey shows. According to the survey by the Alexandria, Va.-based Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 93% of organizations use cost as a prime piece of data in health-care evaluation. Compare that with just 44% who evaluate health plans based on quality of treatment, 14% who evaluate based on the outcome of treatment and 7% who assess provider availability. The data, says SHRM, show that companies are focused on what they can afford to offer and what employees can afford to pay. To encourage healthy behavior, some 67% of firms provide incentives such as employee assistance programs, educational programs and other options. SHRM's data are based on survey responses from 373 randomly selected human resource professionals among its membership.

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