Higher Prices Don’t Always Equate to Higher Quality in Health Care

Money with band-aid and stethascope, close up.

With high-deductible health plans and increasing levels of patient engagement, consumers are increasingly seeking detailed information on quality and costs in order to make health care purchasing decisions. The Health Care Cost Institute has issued a new report which finds that “health care quality is largely unrelated to health care price.”

The report compared average prices from claims data to five specific state-level quality of care measures for asthma, diabetes and hypertension to determine if higher prices for care were associated with better outcomes.

“Although stakeholders need more information about the costs of health care services, they are limited in how they can use that information without knowing what to expect for a given price.  The results of this evaluation of the relationship between state-level quality and price measures demonstrate how price alone may not be sufficient for identifying quality. . . If policy makers and health care industry leaders expect transparency efforts to have real impacts on the health care system, making quality information more accessible and usable by stakeholders is also necessary.”

Full report